On the night I supped downstairs from the popular Hunky Dory Social Club, it was teeming with journalists. Anxiety was understandably rife. Smoothing her (designer) Alice-In-Wonderland style dress, our doe-eyed waitress fretted aloud: "I was trying to think of a word like awesome that started with T…”

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On the night I supped downstairs from the popular Hunky Dory Social Club, it was teeming with journalists. Anxiety was understandably rife. Smoothing her (designer) Alice-In-Wonderland style dress, our doe-eyed waitress fretted aloud: “I was trying to think of a word like awesome that started with T…” Curiously it’s endearing rather than irritating, under the cowhide ceiling of this left-of-centre space. Regulars tend toward rockabilly. When they mosey down from the rooftop, Chef Daniele Trimarchi (ex-Icebergs) keeps them entertained with Little Golden Books of rustic Italian. With drinking high on the agenda, boards of Olive Misto ($10) and Italian cold cuts, Affettati Misti ($19) are a good place to begin. From fat, fleshy Sicilian olives to wafer thin rounds of truffled salami, these produce-driven offerings shine. Those thirsting for adventure might prefer the Nduja di Casa ($13). It’s a chance to lather spicy, smoked, spreadable pork on homemade wood fired bread. The kitchen also turns out decent pizzas: Inseparbile ($18) is dotted with hunks of Roman sausage, slivers of red onion and piquant Gorgonzola; also dotted on Funghi della Nonna ($14). Offset the salt load (which is considerable) with a simple Insalata Caprese ($14); or take your Italian escapade two blocks north to Gelato Messina for dessert…

Bruno’s
Downstairs at Hunky Dory Social Club, 215 Oxford Street, Darlinghurst
Ph: (02) 9331 0442 www.hdsc.virb.com
Italian/Pizza $$-$$$

215 Oxford Street, Darlinghurst, Australia