LP’s Quality Meats + Porteno = Bella Brutta, Newtown
Translating to beautiful ugly, this Newtown brainchild from two of Sydney's most culinary influencers is pure genius.
It's a hot evening in Spring. King St is abuzz with evening commuters as the sun spends its last hours of the day migrating behind the horizon. A warm glow from a crisply white painted facade and a line of hungry mouths find their place in the queue. I look up and there's the emerald green awning with " BELLA BRUTTA" boldly printed. I had found the place.
Newtown is famously home of Thai, burgers and a quick bite on the run, which makes the appeal of Bella Brutta stand out from the crowd. And not to mention the pedigree of LP's Quality Meats (Chippendale) and Porteno (Surry Hills), meaning there's a healthy mix of traditional with just the right sprinkling of crazy.
Bar seating and dining sections inside and out, there is one thing you won't find and that is a spare seat. My advice? Book ahead. This is one of the talks of the town, and with reason.
Starting with the antipasti selection, there was a balanced selection of light dishes like the green tomato and stracciatella. If you have never tried green tomatoes before now is the time to try! Elegantly stacked, the finely sliced pieces are presented on top of a base of creamy stracciatella, the curds of burrata.
Continuing with the light and synchronisation of seasonal flavours, the herring crudo tastes like a traditional old-school Italian dish. Finely sliced and expertly paired with fine citrus segments, not too salty and very refreshing.
The hard-working kitchen team can be seen in action, precisely rolling out the signature pizza dough and artfully adorning the based with minimal high-quality ingredients combinations. The raging woodfire oven (imported from Italy) doesn't take a breath and is truly the heart of the dining room.
Keeping it simple is one of the reasons why it works so well. The basic marinara can be pimped out with a selection of achovies or cheese. The large slices of thin, crisp and puffy dough don't need more than the basic rich marinara sauce and fresh herbs.
The LP's influence can be found in the mortadella pizza, a fior di latte base, topped with olive mortadella and cheese, it ticks all the boxes without being over complicated.
If you can make room, desserts are on the menu and feature dishes like bombolone and fig leaf ice cream, perfect with an espresso martini.
It's an unassuming hive of creative dishes, good wines, local beers and an all round relaxed atmosphere that puts Bella Brutta well and truly on the map.
135 King Street
t: (02) 9922 5941