I am a self-confessed homebody. It’s true. Nothing excites me more than a day when I am free of plans, free of my bra, and free of the proverbial prison that is the top button of my jeans.
One thing that does excite me to leave the house, however, is a long, lingering lunch… in the sun… with cocktails. Dinners are great and all, but when there’s pressure to turn over the table or get home in time for a good night’s sleep, a prolonged affair can be difficult. Enter Italian restaurant in Leichhardt, Capriccio Osteria & Bar. It’s headed up by third generation restaurateurs Michele Rispoli and Matteo Galletto (son of Sydney restaurateur Lucio Galletto of Lucio’s Paddington) and former A-Tavola chef Bryan Gerlini, so you know you’re in safe hands.
This colourful, welcoming eatery on Norton Street opened its doors in April and has been pleasing locals and foodie pilgrims ever since. I chose a seat in the leafy front courtyard and was greeted by a blood orange spritz, which was a welcome (and incredibly refreshing) addition to the 29-degree Friday afternoon.
If you’re anything like me and can’t say no to homemade bread, the paninis are a great place to start. Particularly the porchetta, a happy mix of charred deliciousness from the bread, salty roast pork, fresh fennel and bitter radicchio to balance out the flavours. A few bites of that bad boy set my appetite on fire and I was ready for rounds two, three and four.
Like any good Italian restaurant, the caprese salad was nothing short of a hit on this stinking hot day, especially when served with a side of crunchy rosemary focaccia fresh from Capriccio’s woodfire oven. Despite the heat, the pasta was calling, nay, screaming out from the menu. Ever tried passateli? Now’s the time. These guys make the delicious pasta made from bread crumbs, eggs, and grated parmesan cheese in-house and serve it covered with pipis and fresh tomato.
Of course, you can always head back to this Italian restaurant in Leichhardt for dinner if the mood strikes. The menu is a little heftier but just as satisfying. I’ll certainly be back to give it a crack.
Now, excuse me while I pop open my jeans.
Image credit: Federica Portentoso