Address: 11 Bridge Street, Sydney NSW
Tel: (02) 8298 2700
Mon-Fri 10.00 am -7.00 pm
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A reunion with some of my friends from law school brought me to FINALLY try Fratelli Fresh in Sydney’s CBD. I’d heard a lot about this place and was keen to see what it was all about.
Fratelli is located just off Bridge Street and you need to walk down a small, dark set of stairs to get to the actual restaurant. As it is underground, it has a sort of “cellar-ish” vibe to it with mood lighting, lots of wood and some interesting chalk board menus placed around the restaurant.
The space also serves as a providore which sells some of Fratelli’s sauces, fresh fruit and vegetables and pasta, among other things.
At the front of the restaurant is the kitchen with a wood-fire oven, where the pizza is made. The front seating area has some tables and chairs,while the back bar area has some (very uncomfortable high tables and chairs which I found difficult to sit on. Bar stools and bench tops line the kitchen and bar areas all around the restaurant.
Overall the space is quite nice, with a warm and inviting feel to it. The space is large and the cellar atmosphere makes it a cosy space in which you can enjoy some after work drinks and home-style food.
I arrived at the restaurant at 5.40pm, 20 minutes before the scheduled meeting time with my friends. I was hoping to find a little corner to sit in and read my book (Anna Karenina btw) while I waited.
I stood in line beside the “Please Wait to Be Seated” sign and despite there being two wait staff members chatting nearby, I did not receive any attention. I waited there for about 2-3 minutes (seemed like 5-10) while the waiters walked around organising themselves. Eventually one girl came over to me and said she would get the manager. I would have been happy with a “Good evening, we’re a little busy setting up but someone will be with you shortly.” But no. Eventually the manager came over, wrote my name down on her list and a waitress led me to a table.
Despite the shaky start, our waitress during dinner was lovely. She was friendly and helpful and despite the fact that we weren’t always able to get her attention when we wanted it (I’ll excuse that as the restaurant was very busy), she accommodated any requests we made.
Food was rustic and home-style. The menu was a bit tricky to read for non-Italian speakers but would be alright for those who, like me, know some food-related Italian words (such as formaggi!).
We ordered two sides to share between us: the Chips and the Raddichio with dressing. The chips were delicious thick-cut chips which were golden, piping hot and perfectly salted-delicious. The radicchio was beautiful and colourful, with fresh and crunchy leaves. The bitterness of the leaves was great against the tangy dressing. My only complaint would be that the leaves were so large which made it difficult to eat, but this is a minor complaint.
I ordered the Lamb Ragu with Rigatoni. This dish came under the “Primi” options (first course/entree) on the menu so it was a smallish serving. Plenty for me but not enough for a big eater such as my brother. The lamb was soft and tender, the pasta al dente and the sauce tomato-ey. The dish was well presented and topped with parmesan cheese. Not an amazing dish but quite satisfying.
My friend SB ordered from the main menu, chicken schnitzel with coleslaw. It was quite a small serving and the chicken was quite dry as it was very thin. The coleslaw had beautiful colours and was well presented and tasty.
heetz ordered the Orecchiette with mushrooms, smashed peas and mint. Orecchiette is a sort of thumb print shaped pasta which means “little ears”. While the subtle mint flavour and creamy peas made for an interesting dish, Sheetz unfortunately received shell pasta and linguine instead of orecchiette, which was disappointing. We weren’t told that there was no orecchiette and that she would get a different pasta, we were just served a different kind with no apologies. Even more disappointing, there were only about two mushrooms in the dish!
Vegetarian PS ordered the risotto with mushrooms, taleggio and marsala. I tried a little and was delighted with the dish. It was well -cooked, creamy, and the most flavoursome dish of them all. A very good option for vegetarians who like Italian food.
For dessert we ordered two dishes to share between us.
The first was the Torta Banoffee- banoffee pie. If you don’t know what a Banoffee Pie is check out this link (you can thank me later). I expected an individual sized tart piled high with banana and oozing caramel. What we got was quite different. We received a slice of the tart instead of an individual sized serving which, I think, doesn’t look that great on the plate. The biscuit base was quite hard to cut through and there was only one thin layer of banana. While the caramel tasted nice, it wasn’t gooey and oozing out as I had hoped. The cream tasted a bit like banana however, which added to the flavour of the dish overall.
Our second dessert option was the Mango and white chocolate semifreddo with fresh mango and meringue. This dish was quite nicely presented with cute mini meringue buttons on top and a gorgeous glossy sauce on the plate. The semifreddo had a creamy mango flavour and there were generous serves of fresh mango on top of it which livened up the dish a lot. The sauce was sweet and tangy and the meringues added some texture and bite. A delicious dessert which I really enjoyed.
Overall, not a bad restaurant. Service at the door could be improved a little by friendlier staff and more attention to customers. There is a lot of variety in the dining options and the food is cooked well and presented nicely. Great dessert menu and cool interior. Would definitely recommend this place!
The bill came to $140.00 – $35.00 pp (excluding drinks).
Overall I would rate my experience (out of 10):
- Service- 6.5
- Food- 7.5
- Ambience- 7.5
- Value – 7.5