12 Jun Mark and Vinny’s
I have a new crush. I can’t help it. È più forte di me! ‘It’s stronger than me!’ It’s Mark and Vinny’s in (Sydney’s) Surry Hills.
Just mention the words ‘Spritz and Spaghetti’ and my heart flies to Italy. Old school 50s and 60s ‘Rat Pack’ music (thanks to Frank for Fly Me To the Moon) takes patrons back to a less hurried time of life but this restaurant is an elegant remake of an old concept.
The red and green colours of the Italian flag have gone, and so has the ubiquitous spaghetti bolognaise, because everything here has a new millennium twist. It’s a fun and happy, an upbeat kind of place that’s bustling with Italian bravura.
White tables are set with pretty rose gold cutlery and the motto ‘Don’t be unsetti eat some spaghetti’ printed on the napkins, is a cute reminder about why I am here. The food is decorative too, blue spirulina pasta, brightly coloured cocktails, with the signature spritz variety being consumed as a hot favourite. Our party of six has great difficulty choosing. Our waitress is amazingly patient at this point, guiding us through the flavours on offer.
You know that your taste buds are in for a treat with a team as solidly talented as foodlovers Vince Pizzinga and Mark Filippellini (co-founders of Melbourne’s Matcha Mylkbar) with head chef Adrian Jankuloski (previously with Icebergs, The Dolphin). Their menu choices reflect the kind of experienced creativity that we’ve come to expect of this clever threesome.
I am absolutely obsessed with the charcoal carbonara pasta, artfully displaying a faux egg, a vegan egg alternative made from sweet potato. It should come with a warning ‘highly addictive’. Another vegan favourite is the Beetroot Spaghettini, with subtle truffle and mushroom flavours wrapped in a cashew creme. The caprese salad sings with soy mozzarella; the zucchini flowers are stuffed with smoked almond curd, need I go on?
My family and friends are gently vegan, but I am strictly vegan, so finding Italian food where the focus is plant based isn’t always easy. Mark and Vinny’s is just heaven. A smorgasbord of vegan options have been beautifully curated into a menu that suits all tastes. It’s so refreshing to go to a restaurant where vegan is the first thought and not just a bundle of side dishes.
The plant base in some dishes is subtly hidden for diners who prefer an animal based condiment with vegetables. All plant-based ingredients are made in-house and that guarantees high quality.
The best isn’t exactly left until last, however dessert is another creative surprise. Crunchy ravioli pillows full of a substance they call No-Tella, a chocolaty cream, is served with cacao nibs, raspberry, and a creamy coconut ice-cream. Bellisima!
Ideas to take home
- Adopt the ‘old school’ food philosophy: food that is local is not mass-produced. Be inspired by the seasonal vibe of fresh produce and head to your local farmers markets to pick from the best of nature’s offerings.
- Honour family and friends by serving food that looks good and tastes even better.
- Pick up a jar of M+V Vinny’s chilli oil .You can use it on everything from avocado toast to your own pasta dishes.
+61 2 9907 7789
Review by Catherine Carr