“John Laws had lunch at Otto today,” my UberX driver informs me when he sees my destination. I’m apparently his second trip to this famous waterfront spot – operated by The Fink Group, who also have Quay, The Bridge Room and Firedoor in their stable. With its reputation preceding it, I was surprised to find an accessible menu of every-day food, starting with vibrantly green asparagus, broad beans and peas hiding Buffalo Ricotta ($27). Pastas, including an artful tangle of Spaghettini ($29/$39), chilli and bottarga, heavily studded with hand-picked blue swimmer crab, are menu highlights, and available as either entrée or main. In Head Chef Richard Ptacnik’s hands, proteins are well handled though pricy. Dentice ($47): crisp-skinned, line-caught pink snapper arrives on a healthy bed of globe artichokes, celery, muscatels and pine nuts, lifted by crystal ice plants that crush delicately in the mouth. Fesa di Manzo ($43) showcases Riverina Black Angus rump cap against Jerusalem artichoke, mushrooms, and green peppercorn sauce, but still wants for a side (or two). Steered to drink Australian from the extensive, cleverly arranged list, I’m drawn to the ‘inspirational’ 2013 Jamsheed – Warners Vineyard Rousanne ($69). I switch to Italian – 2010 Di Majo Norante – Apianae Moscato del Molise ($13/glass) – to accompany my surprising highlight: ‘fudgey’ Robiola di Capra ($11) goats’ cheese.
Area 8, 6 Cowper Wharf Road, Woolloomooloo
Ph: (02) 9368 7488 ottoristorante.com.au