10 Neild Avenue, Rushcutters Bay, New South Wales, Australia
02 9357 7750
Seasoned Sydney foodies will already be acquainted with the Machiavelli name. The establishment has been delighting Sydneysiders for decades from its spot in Clarence Street, entertaining both families and the famous.
If one venue wasn’t enough, the team behind the venture have just opened a sister venue in Rushcutters Bay, aptly named Bar Machiavelli. Located within an old cavernous converted warehouse, it boasts soft lighting; huge walls decorated with black and white images of celebrities from a bygone era; and intimate tables, perfect for a romantic dinner for two. If the name and décor isn’t enough of an indication of its cultural adaptations, the food and service will soon assuage any doubts: the olive oil on the table, rosetta bread rolls on arrival, and the wait staff all scream Italian, the latter somewhat literally. On top of this, the service is excellent, attentive and pleasant, with staff ready to assist in any way they can.
Fine dining, as an experience, doesn’t always pair well with Italian food – a cuisine noted for generous portion sizes and simplicity in design. However, at Bar Machiavelli, the founding team have struck the perfect balance. The menu is simple and intelligently designed to cater to a sophisticated taste. Importantly, a house bellini is always on rotation, and is highly recommended.
For antipasto, the baked figs wrapped in prosciutto and garnished with a Roquefort cheese sauce are excellent – the cleverness resides in its simplicity, and appears in the menu as a delightful mid-season starter. The beetroot carpaccio is a great dish to share, and comes with a generous helping of soft buffalo mozzarella. As a cold carpaccio, it primes the palate for subsequent dishes.
The pastas at Bar Machiavelli are all homemade, but the pappardelle is the star of the show. A thickly cut pasta, it requires a richer sauce to counter its fullness of texture. For those looking for a dish Nonna would approve of, go no further than Paola’s slow-cooked duck ragu or the chestnut pappardelle.
For secondi, dishes range from a veal cutlet, crumbed and served rare-ish on a bed of mashed potato with lemon, to the spatchcock alla diavola, cooked with chilli, cherry tomatoes, olives, capers, lemon and white wine jus. It looks divine and tastes even better, with the sauce granting the dish a spicy and rich flavour that elevates the whole experience.
Dessert is a must, with tiramisus and affogatos standard, and expertly delivered. A couple of sambucas later, and you’re sure to have had the complete esperienza Italiana.