I have been wanting to try out this place for ages and the opportunity finally arises this week when I meet two girlfriends for drinks and a catch up. When I arrive, Kimberley is sitting at a high table right at the front which is open to the street, but we move inside past the long bar to a small table down the back. The feel of the place is relaxed with candlelight and jazz, almost romantic – not what I’d expected from one of the first, mostly idiosyncratic, small bars to have opened in Sydney when the licensing laws changed. Rani arrives soon after and we study the menu. Rather than go for separate mains we decide we feel like some nibbly things to share – we choose crostini with egg mayonnaise, anchovy, preserved lemon and chili; a mozzarella and tomato salad; a salumi plate and a cheese board. To drink we pick a lovely bottle of Eden Vally Riesling. It’s ideal fodder for a good old chin-wag – and the music is suitably pitched that talking and listening is a breeze, which (excuse me for sounding old!) is a rare pleasure.
The crostini are a bit less exciting than their individual ingredients would suggest. But the mozzarella salad is a delight, perfectly seasoned with beautiful, rustically torn-apart, fresh mozzarella, pepped up with basil, mint, flat-leaf parsley and thin slices of peppery radish.
The salumi (sopressa, Serrano jamon, pancetta, bresaola) and cheese (pecorino, taleggio, gorgonzola) are delicious in all their fabulous Italian flavours, with plenty of sourdough bread and crunchy little parmesan biscuits to go with them, and a little dish of divine olive oil with sweet, syrupy balsamic vinegar.
The service is attentive but unobtrusive. It’s rather quiet considering it’s a Wednesday night. I can only imagine it must be pumping at the weekend – but I like it better like this. I really look forward to returning here again soon.
Bootleg Bar + Italian Food
175 Victoria Street, Potts Point
Visited 2 May 2012