New management and Chef John Lanzafame rattling the pans finally gave me cause to visit this Italian wine bar, which – I’m almost ashamed to admit – has been in operation for over a decade. Better late than never I think, over a warmed skillet of Sambuca Fritti Olives ($6.50) that defied my intense aniseed expectations with compelling, syrupy sweetness. The beautiful heritage-listed space lined with wines does tend to inspire a powerful thirst. I dabbled with a dry yet strawberry-scented 2012 Italian Collefrisio Cerasuolo Rosè ($12/glass), an affable companion to Torta di Melanzane ($16), baked eggplant with tomatoes and buffalo mozzarella. To further illustrate what a friend we have in cheeses, Lanzafame’s Ricotta Infornata ($16) – a slow-baked wheel of ricotta drizzled with green olive salsa – proved another hit. However even it is eclipsed by a decadent Radicchio Salad ($17); dotted with orange segments, walnuts and yes, more cheese (this time goat). It’s easy to see why pairs of women occupy most tables, including my own. We pull back with a shared main of Rigatoni ($24), its chilli bite eased with muscatels, toasted pine nuts and basil, to guarantee room for dessert. Clinking spoons in Meringata ($12) taken in tandem with the 2012 Pizzini Brachetto ($12/glass) ensures we leave smiling.
397 Crown Street, Sydney
Ph: (02) 9357 3366 millevini.com.au
Bar, Wine, Italian $$$-$$$$