Mike Eggert (of Pinbone and Mr Liquor’s Dirty Italian Disco fame) and Khan Danis (Rockpool) are at the helm of Merivale’s latest- Totti’s in Bondi, rolling out fresh pasta and good times.
Totti’s is the latest offering from Merivale with Mike Eggert (Mr Liquor’s Dirty Italian Disco, Pinbone) and Khan Danis (Rockpool) at the helm in the kitchen. It’s taken our group quite a while to finally make it out Bondi way and after weeks of drooling at the menu we’re keen to eat absolutely everything.
Totti’s is hidden inside the Royal Hotel, make your way to the left past the bar and the bathrooms to find a beautiful rustic space. Inside, there’s views of the pizza oven and charcuterie slicing section but try and get a table in the light drenched courtyard with an olive tree at the center.
We start with the Wood-fired bread ($10) which arrives all puffed up with blistered pockets, a touch of olive oil and salt. The texture is incredible, like a super light and airy pizza crust.
We watch as the Salami ($8) is sliced to order and lightly drizzled with olive oil and greedily dig in.
We alternate mouthfuls of the salami with torn off bread to scoop up the Chicken liver parfait ($8). The parfait is rich, ridiculously smooth and creamy and caused me great anguish at having to share 😛
The pastas are all house-made and hand-rolled and the Prawn casarecce ($29) was hands down our favourite of the night! There was quartered prawns scattered throughout and while I would’ve preferred them whole, the intensely prawn-y sauce more than made up for this. The twisty casarecce pasta was perfect to soak up all the sauce, and I seriously considered ordering some more of the wood fired bread to mop up the leftover sauce.
I could eat the Rigatoni, milk-braised pork & chilli ($28) forever. The pasta has the perfect toothiness and shape to hold the pork nubbins and the lil hit of chilli and shower of parmesan has me sneakily scraping the plate for more than my share.
The Lamb ragu with pappardelle ($29) was a touch on the sweet side but the lamb is melt in your mouth tender and the silky ribbons of pasta perfectly al dente.
The Corn polenta & chilli ($9) is hugely comforting, like a warm hug. You all know my love for juicy corn so this was incredibly satisfying and the chilli amped up the flavour and kept this dish from being stodgy.
We decide to split the Tiramisu ($12) to share and it arrives looking promising- a generous scoop with a dusting of cocoa powder and what looks to be a good ratio of cream, mascarpone and moist coffee ladys finger layers. Buuuut I detect amaretto and that is my most hated flavour in all the lands (followed by celery). Also surprisingly there’s bits of almonds hidden under the cocoa powder, indistinguishable from the chocolate buds and I dunno mebbe it’s just me but I don’t like crunchy bits in tiramisu especially with my second most hated nut after the Brazil nut. Next time I’m gonna get the housemade strawberry ice cream sandwich!
283 Bondi Rd,
Mon – Sat: 11.30am – 10pm
Sun: 11.30am – 9pm
Gaku Robata Grill, Darlinghurst
By day Gaku Robata Grill in Darlinghurst serves soul warming bowls of ramen but by night their Japanese menu with French techniques shines. The silky chawanmushi with spanner crab meat and truffle sauce is perfection.
While Haru Inukai’s ramen is known to all the ramenheads in Sydney (please bring back the clam chowder!), for a truly spectacular meal you guys have got to go to Gaku Robata Grill in Darlinghurst for dinner! It’s a cosy space, with the best seats in the house up front at the counter. While Gaku’s name implies they have a robata grill unfortch the council hasn’t given them approval just yet so skewers are grilled on a gas grill but don’t let that deter you because the sashimi is fresh, the service is attentive and the food is bloody brilliant.
We start with the Tasmanian Sea Urchin Hand Roll ($15), a textural delight with a crisp sheet of seaweed holding plump grains of sushi rice and briny Australian short spine sea urchin.
Then the Classic selection of sashimi ($36) which comes with plump scallops, buttery salmon, tuna and kingfish.
When the lid of the Chawanmushi ($12) was removed, the incredibly heady scent of truffle enveloped us. The steamed egg was so unbelievably silky smooth and I loved the buried spanner crab treasure hunt and my oh my that truffle flavour was just sublime.
The Treasure Rice Bowl ($18) is a feast for the eyes, I mean just look at it! It’s so beautiful, a tasty work of art! This bowl was super comforting with warm sushi rice, a generous amount of soy marinated tuna, petals of glorious sea urchin and spoonfuls of salmon roe.
The Saikyo Miso Foie Gras ($45) was available as a special and has me just about swooning with happiness. It’s a pretty spectacular looking lobe of foie gras that’s marinated in a Saikyo miso paste which has a gentle sweetness to it. The edges are caramelised and crisp, giving way to an unctuously soft inside.
And last but certainly not the least, the Japanese full blood A5 (marbling score 12) Wagyu beef from Kagoshima ($43/100g). How much is 100g we ask ourselves and should we just order double? The answer is yes, yes you should because HOMG THIS WAS SO FRICKEN GOOD I DIE. The meat just MELTS in the mouth, it’s ridiculously tender and fatty and HNNNNNNG so flavourful like the most intensely steaky flavour ARGH ALL THE CAPITAL LETTERS this was out of this world! There was an accompanying trio of condiments with Gaku’s special pepper sauce, smoked soy sauce and salt but I s2g it just didn’t need anything because it was so damn PERFECT.
Gaku Robata Grill
132 Darlinghurst Rd,
Trading Hours: (Ramen at lunch only)
Monday: 12 – 2pm
Tuesday – Saturday: 12 – 2pm, 6 – 10pm
Sunday: 12 – 2pm