Matteo Downtown, a vibrant Italian restaurant and bar, is set to open on Sydney’s Bond Street this August. A louder, bigger and brighter brother to the more relaxed Matteo Double Bay, the new CBD concept will offer a true Italian experience with a buzzing all-day vibe and authentic Italian flavours in a contemporary urban setting.
Matteo Downtown is the brainchild of hospitality team, The Adored Group, which currently includes Matteo Double Bay as well as connections with sister venues, The Island, The Lobo Plantation and Kittyhawk. Following the success of their first restaurant venture, Adam Abrams, Orazio D’Elia and Eddie Levy now have their sights set firmly on Sydney’s CBD and are bringing with them their combined passion, knowledge and infectious love of having a great time.
Matteo Downtown will offer a different facet of the vibrant Italian lifestyle to Sydney, inspired by the big all-day dining restaurants of Milan and Rome. While Matteo Double Bay exudes the relaxed vibe of Amalfi Coast tavernas, Downtown will capture the flavour, energy and theatre of the high-paced city and be open all day for breakfast, lunch, aperitivo, dinner and drinks late into the night.
“We want to capture the essence of that big city lifestyle,” explains Abrams, “like Rome and Milan; there’s always something going on – people popping by for a drink and a snack, having a business meeting, or enjoying a long lunch that might turn into dinner or more drinks.”
Designed by leading architecture and interiors firm, Acme & Co, Matteo Downtown will be home to a variety of experiences, each with a distinct identity specially curated to evoke a sensory connection to the overall Italian experience. The stylish bar will be framed by an eye-catching installation of 44 playfully vibrant works of art curated by Australian artist, Daimon Downey; the intimate dining room will overlook the exciting theatre of the open kitchen; and the open terrace for alfresco dining and drinks has been designed so guests can see out and be seen, reminiscent of people watching in one of Milan’s bustling piazzas.
The food concept will draw on Chef Orazio D’Elia’s traditional Italian upbringing in Southern Italy, and his culinary and cultural journeys through the north. D’Elia’s food philosophy is to take simple and traditional dishes and execute them using exceptional ingredients, a skill he honed while working in the big kitchens of Milan in his younger years. Whilst Matteo Double Bay is more seafood and pizza focused, Downtown will have a dedicated mozzarella and antipasti bar, and feature more earthy and rich dishes from Northern Italy along with simple traditional dishes that are often forgotten on modern menus.
Downtown will open each weekday from 7am for breakfast. Guests can pick from a range of pastries, panini and Italian coffee to enjoy on-the-go or at the bar, or settle in for a breakfast meeting or the morning paper in the dining room. Here, you can choose from the full breakfast menu, which includes Italian-style eggs in purgatory (similar to Shakshuka), a Neapolitan pastiera-inspired porridge and a range of traditional Italian egg dishes re-imagined with a breakfast twist.
From 11am until 11pm, there will be a specially designed express menu, where those who are short on time can perch themselves at the bar and grab a dozen oysters, salumi boards, portions of pasta, minute steak, or a range of paninis and focaccias topped with fresh Italian produce, and wash it down with a glass of house wine on tap. There will also be a dedicated Mozzarella bar, with a diverse list of fresh mozzarella delivered daily, to be eaten individually or with D’Elia’s home-cured pork neck or freshly sliced Parma prosciutto.
Those looking for a more leisurely long lunch or dinner in the dining room can expect some of D’Elia’s favourite dishes coming from the big, open kitchen. Highlights will include a squid ink fregola; a Sardinian pasta similar to a risotto, topped with frutti di mare; traditional osso bucco with saffron risotto; and linguine vongole with sea urchin.
What will really set Matteo Downtown apart will be their embrace of the traditional Italian apertivo culture. Five days a week from 4pm until 6pm guests will be able to gather at the bar and sip on a selection of wine, beer, seasonal spritz and Negroni – accompanied by complimentary snacks, as per the Italian evening tradition. Snacks will be delivered on roaming trays, and will showcase whatever produce D’Elia decides is best on the day – think pizzetta, calzone, octopus bites and fried school prawns.
The innovative drinks list will focus on uncomplicated, classic Italian flavours with minimal ingredients but using top quality, seasonal produce. Bar Manager, Maurizio Furiani, has been hard at work behind the scenes curating a list of bespoke Italian spirits and small batch liquors directly from the motherland, and a rotating range of seasonal spritz and Negroni, craft Italian beer and house wine (red, white and rosé), all on tap.
The space will feature an impressive wine wall made up of nearly 300 bottles, a masterpiece in itself that will cover the back wall of the dining room, with everything from big names in wine to bold Italian reds, to Australian varietals and natural wines.
Further details and the open date of Matteo Downtown will be announced soon.