“It’s like meat butter,” my dining companion exclaims, gesturing with half a two-bite Cannolo alla Mortadella ($4/each) in her hand. It’s crude, but apt: the balsamic cannoli come rolled in pistachio and filled with imported Italian mortadella that has been fashioned into pâté. They’re the first hint of the modern sensibilities, neatly interwoven with rustic, produce-centred cooking, at this vibrant Norton Street newcomer. Juicy rounds of pork sausage with pickles on tasty malt-darkened lentil buns make the Cotechino Sliders ($8/each) melt even the heart of this jaded slider aficionado. Or, if you prefer meat and bread the old-fashioned way, their wood-fire oven baked Foccacia ($5) with Porchetta ($10/100g) both eat wonderfully too. Start your drinking journey with a post-work palate cleanser – the Campari Spritz ($16) – elevated by freshly squeezed blood oranges. Third generation restaurateur, Matteo Galletto, will shepherd you through a succinct Italian wine list. His suggested Sardinian 2013 Terresinis Cantine Vernaccia ($14/glass) tames the normally floral varietal with combination oak and concrete tank ageing. It’s a fruit-driven companion to delightfully cheesy Cacio Fave e Pepe ($19) – rigatoni with Pecorino Romano brightened with broad beans. It’d be hard to beat the modern Cappuccino ($12) with brownie, condensed milk gelato and crisp milk skin, well, unless ricotta cheesecake is their Dolce Del Giorno ($12) (daily dessert).
Capriccio Osteria & Bar
159 Norton Street, Leichhardt
Ph: (02) 9572 7607 capriccio.sydney
Modern Italian $$-$$$