Since opening in mid-February, Trattoria Pellegrino 2000 in Surry Hills has drawn a flood of visitors for its Italian delights. Topping the charts are shrimp ravioli, quail saltimbocca and marinated artichokes.
“It was pleasant and regularly busy,” says Andy Tyson (ex-Restaurant Hubert, Alberto’s Lounge) Large format. The sommelier and venue manager co-owns the restaurant with chefs Dan Pepperell and Mikey Clift (ex-Rockpool Dining Group) – it’s an Italian-tinged sequel to their first joint venue, Potts Point’s Bistrot 916.
Where many restaurateurs start with a concept and then research a location, the process went the other way for the trio.
“We didn’t plan an Italian restaurant,” Tyson explains. “We saw the space – an old terrace, built in 1915, in one corner – and felt it was really something you would find in Florence or Rome.”
With this, the decision was made to transform the building – which once housed Hamish Ingham’s famous Bar H – into Pellegrino 2000. Taking inspiration from garage-style trattorias, the trio decorated the space with framed vintage photographs, packets of pasta, bottles of olive oil and fresh tomatoes, and dressed it in a warm palette of gold, burnt orange and red.
A neon sign reading “2000” leads you downstairs to a moody wine cellar, where the walls are lined with Italian bottles; it doubles as an intimate dining room lit by candlelight and covered with a gingham table. In the bustling upstairs space, you’ll find the bar, brown leather banquettes, floor-to-ceiling windows, and a mix of indoor and outdoor seating. On a warm evening, the hot ticket is to grab a stool on the sidewalk, at a window counter that faces inside the bar.
Pepperell’s approach of taking classic dishes and giving them its own spin – a trademark in his past roles at French bistro Restaurant Hubert and Italian restaurants Alberto’s Lounge and 10 William St – is on display again here, although perhaps more subtly than in the past. .
One of the biggest hits so far is the luxurious shrimp ravioli, topped with prosciutto and bathed in a rich buttery sage brown sauce. And then there’s the saltimbocca quail: a whole quail butterflied, pan-fried, and served on a bed of porcini mushroom sauce. And don’t miss the spicy artichokes, marinated at the very start of the season, then seasoned with lemon and parsley. Every dish definitely deserves a portion of homemade bread with truffle butter.
And the dessert is in order: the caramel cream is accompanied by a tower of whipped cream infused with banana, while the “limongello” tart shines the creativity of Pepperell: a jelly flavored with limoncello is served in a zest of lemon , instead of the fruit. usual pulpy flesh.
On Tyson’s wine list you’ll find mostly Italian drops, but there are also a few Australians.
“The focus is on the next generation of up-and-coming producers, as well as very old bottlings of classic wines, like Chianti and Brunello,” says Tyson. “We get them from about 50 different sources, ranging from personal collections to importers.”
Before or after the wine, let yourself be tempted by a cocktail. As with the food, the focus is on Italian classics, each with a little something extra. The Bellini, for example, is made with peach, prosecco, and a sherry blend, while the Amaro Shakerato is sour, but with an amaro blend. There is also a large collection of Italian amari and grappas.
Less Italian is the soundtrack, which Tyson describes as “an upbeat and eclectic mix”, bringing together West African, Middle Eastern and Italian pop tracks.
80 Campbell Street, Surry Hills
(02) 8593 0114
Monday to Thursday from 5 p.m. to 10:30 p.m.
Fri & Sat 5pm–11.30pm