It's a mere hop, skip and a jump away from home, but there are plenty more reasons why I've returned to Popolo for more. Situated smack bang in the Rushcutters Bay Advanx complex this all-hours restaurant will sate your hunger any time of day. Co-owners Flavio Carnevale (wicked surname) and Fabio Dore have made a restaurant for the people (hence its namesake) and boy are they onto something. Originally from Fratelli Paradiso in Potts Point, they may have flown the coop but they didn't get very far!
|Day or night, Popolo's is a great all-rounder. Credit: Anthony Reginato|
The beauty of this place is that it can be whatever you want - a restaurant chameleon, who would've thought. Brunch, bar or fine diner - Popolo ticks a myriad of boxes without breaking the bank. What with the thick accents of the front staff (I'm sorry but some things were completely LOST on me) and the no nonsense approach to cibo Italiano, you are almost transported to a far-off piazza, which just so happens to be next to the Lexus showroom...No matter.
Here's what to expect in the food stakes:
|Flippin' fregola: toasted pebble shaped pasta with calamari, prawns and mussels, tomato, chilli and orange zest. Generosity with seafood always deserves props.|
|Luncheon at Popolo: Flaminia pizza (left) and Strozzapreti ('priest-strangler'!) with suckling pig ragu (right). The pizza is topped with tomato, fior di latte, ham and artichokes - the latter being one of my all time favourite pizza ingredients. The crust is a wee-thick and bready for what I'm used to, pizzas can easily be shared. Easily. I needed a pasta identi-kit to figure out what that pasta was. Could not remember for the life of me! Thank you Cook's Thesaurus ;)|
|Paccheri pasta with swordfish, eggplant and fresh cherry tomatoes. This was a lovely neutral kind of dish, nothing smacks you in the mouth but all the elements work harmoniously. A very enjoyable main|
|Galletto: roasted spatchcock (left) and Pesce: market fish (right). Letting the protein do all the talking, all you need is a snippet of fennel, a light purée and a squeeze of a lemon cheek, done skies.|
|Caprese al Ciocolato (left) and Semifreddo (right). Chocolate & almond cake, creme anglaise, citrus. Hazelnut and vanilla semifreddo, amaretto sauce, berries.|
Popolo has had a hard time juggling all that good press of late. Named Time Out Sydney's Best Casual Diner 2013, and awarded one hat/star by both the Good Food Guide 2014 and Gourmet Traveller's Restaurant Guide 2014 - most have cottoned on to this little place. It's a southern Italian gem, let me assure you. Oh and you can make bookings. Thank Christ.
Thanks for reading!