Some restaurants manage to slide effortlessly into the fabric of the Sydney dining scene, simply by encapsulating the type of food we want to be eating right now. One Ford Street, tucked in behind the Cricketers Arms, is one such restaurant, serving up fresh and unfussy, modern Italian food. Chef Sam Bennett (ex-Fix St James) packs a surprising amount of flavour into his Panzerotti ($12/2) – fried mini calzones stuffed with quail, cabbage and barley. Though, on an evening that shot straight past balmy, it’s his Market Fish Carpaccio ($16) that commands my attention. The kingfish is skilfully handled with a simple lemon, olive oil and fresh horseradish vinaigrette. Slightly salty Spelt Pappardelle ($24) with gremolata and sausage cacciatore is surpassed by crisp skinned Bass Grouper ($32) served in a halo of pipis, cabbage, tarragon and prosciutto. Gleaming, ripe heirloom Tomatoes ($18) shine against chickpea crisps, wild onions and goat’s cheese. It’s the type of dish that makes me wish I were sitting in the garden courtyard surrounded by hanging plants despite the unseasonable warmth. Coolly collected staff (who cleverly steered me indoors) also make ordering from the Italian wine list a breeze, landing a fruit-driven 2013 Ocone ‘Flora’ Falanghina ($52). Bennett’s time at Bourke Street Bakery means you should definitely finish with an airy Tiramisu Éclair ($6/each).
One Ford Street
1 Ford Street, Balmain
Ph: (02) 9818 4232 cricketersarmsbalmain.com.au
Modern Italian $$$