Before the redevelopment of the International Convention Centre, Darling Harbour was stuck with a variety of not-so-flattering connotations. With the ICC theatre and the Convention Centre itself now complete, the surroundings have been populated with a selection of restaurants and bars.
One of the crown jewels of the new ICC complex is Fratelli Fresh. Stepping inside the venue the interiors are so distinct from the surrounding architecture that it transports you away from the hubbub of Haymarket to an Italian mercato. With October marking two months since the new Darling Harbour location was opened, a new spring menu has been launched to match.
The architecture of the Darling Harbour location sets this Fratelli venue apart from its compatriots. The concept is an upscale food market – where the dining area is positioned in the centre of the space with the pizza kitchen, bar, cellar, and dessert counter surrounding the tables. The red accents on white furnishings emphasise this European flair that will have you thirsty for Aperol and craving arancini.
The new spring menu perfectly matches the feel of the restaurant: light, colourful and with a classic touch. The antipasti menu is a smorgasbord of dishes teeming with fresh cheese, vibrant fruits and a satisfying crunch, and the broad bean and ricotta bruschetta is the perfect way to begin the feast. Lightly salted creaminess and a pop of colour is representative of what Fratelli is all about, and it’s the ideal dish to condition your tastebuds for the Roman holiday that awaits. The tuna tartare is a fan favourite and is as delicate as it is tasty. Piped mounds of avocado cream plus the shaved cucumber and radish salad complement the cylindrical stack of tuna and give it the textural bite it needs. The colour palette of the burrata with baby beets matches the interior for a visual and tasteful experience. Resembling a well-loved garden, it’s almost too pretty to eat.
Larger dishes include the pizza and pasta menus and it’s here that the Fratelli chefs really show off their appreciation for fresh ingredients and timeless flavours that is characteristic of Italian cuisine. The spring garden pizza defines this approach. Goats cheese melts into a white base, which is then dotted with peas, Dutch carrots, sun-dried tomato, sliced snow peas, and herbs.
In the debate between pasta and pizza, neither win nor lose at Fratelli and the spring selection is a menu to be reckoned with. From ravioli to risotto, fettucine to orecchiette, Fratelli has updated the classics and provided a list which finds the right balance between familiar and exciting. Highlights include the fettuccini with prawn, mussels, scallops, squid, tomato & fresh basil, and the famous penne and lamb ragù. There are options for vegetarians in the pasta aisle too, although even omnivorous customers may find themselves addicted to zoodles –i.e. zucchini noodles. For just $2 extra, zoodles can be swapped into any of the pasta dishes in all Fratelli venues, and although the colour may take some getting used to, the result is entirely delicious and a fantastic way to feel healthy and smug when eating mountains of Italian food.
Exclusive to only the Darling Harbour location, the dessert bar at Fratelli is the stuff of daydreams. The glass cabinet is filled with exquisite sweets that are prepared by hand daily. From The Hazelnut – a ball of tempered chocolate filled with hazelnut mousse and dulce de leche – and the Bannoffee Pudding, to the cannoli stuffed with your choice of filling and handmade chocolates – the dessert bar is a place of wonder.
The change of the season also brings with it a spectacular range of new drinks which are perfect for the summery months. Fratelli has released a selection of beautiful spritzes – from the traditional tangerine-hued Aperol to a delicate white peach or punchy pomegranate and elderflower. With the added benefit of a Campari bar, and an extensive wine list, Fratelli has a drink for anyone who walks through the doors.
Whether you’re a pizza fanatic or antipasto aficionado, Fratelli Fresh offers an airy and flavoursome experience you’ll become addicted to. For a date night, a family catch up or drinks with your pals, the spring menu offers a diverse and plentiful selection of Sydney’s best takes on Italian tradition.