Pizza in the Piazza, Matteo Downtown opens

Matteo Downtown

Matteo Downtown, the highly anticipated second venue from Matteo Double Bay’s The Adored Group, is now open on Sydney’s Bond Street. Inspired by the big all-day dining restaurants of Milan and Rome, Matteo Downtown is vibrant, fun and unpretentious, embracing the flavour and energy of the high-paced city.

Designed by award-winning architecture and interiors firm, ACME, Matteo Downtown has been inspired by the idea of ‘pizza in the piazza’, an immersive experience that captures the nostalgia, vibrancy and buzz of big-city Italy.  The space itself is a canvas for the abundant and colourful nature of the offering, featuring a variety of experiences within. The intimate dining room overlooks the exciting theatre of the open kitchen, and the open terrace for alfresco dining and drinks has been designed so guests can see out and be seen, reminiscent of people-watching in Milan’s bustling piazzas.

The food concept draws on Chef Orazio D’Elia’s traditional Italian upbringing in Southern Italy and his culinary and cultural journeys through the North. D’Elia’s food philosophy is to take simple and traditional dishes and execute them using exceptional ingredients, a skill he honed whilst working in the big kitchens of Milan in his younger years. The Downtown menu features more earthy and rich dishes from Northern Italy, along with simple traditional dishes that are often forgotten on modern menus.

Downtown is open each weekday from 7am for breakfast, enjoyed on-the-go or at the bar, paired with an Italian Vittoria coffee. Guests can pick from a range of pasticceria like croissants, sfogliatella, cartocci siciliani, fagottini, ravioli dolci and camille, freshly baked in the kitchen and wheeled out on a trolley cart straight to discerning guests, or choose from a daily selection of savoury items or ‘rosticceria’ like panino with freshly handmade focaccia bread.

Those with a more time up their sleeve can settle in for a breakfast meeting or the morning paper in the dining room and choose from the full breakfast menu. Eggs are not typically enjoyed for breakfast in Italy, but D’Elia has created traditional Italian egg dishes reimagined with a breakfast twist for Downtown, like ‘uovo in purgatorio’, Italian-style eggs in purgatory (similar to shakshuka) and ‘cacio e pepe’ scrambled eggs withpecorino, Italian style pork sausages, pepper, cannellini beans and miche bread,alongside a beautiful Neapolitan Pastiera inspired wheat and grain porridge.

The express lunch menu is available from 11am, designed for busy workers who want to escape the desk and still enjoy the pleasures that food and wine play in one’s day.Guests can perch themselves at the bar and choose from the antipasto boards, pastas and paninis on offer.  Those looking for a more leisurely, long lunch or dinner in the dining room, can expect some of D’Elia’s favourite dishes coming from the big, open kitchen. Highlights include a squid ink fregola, a Sardinian pasta similar to a risotto, topped with frutti di mare; Cappelletti with butter, majoran and Sicilian pecorino dolce; and linguine vongole with sea urchin.

A concept that is hugely popular in Italy but a first for the Sydney restaurant scene is Matteo Downtown’s dedicated mozzarella bar. D’Elia, who hails from Campagnia, a regional area of Italy known for their buffalo fields, has partnered with the award-winning Australia producer of fine cheeses, La Stella Latticini. Made fresh and delivered daily, the cheeses are used in dishes like the mouth-watering buffalo mozzarella with house cured kurobuta capocollo (pork-neck); cow milk stracciatella with red scarlet prawns crudo; cow milk burrata, nettle, sea vegetables and trout roe; and cow milk ricotta with Blackmore wagyu bresaola and aged giusti balsamic.

“Mozzarella is the queen of cheeses on any Southern Italian table”, says D’Elia. “I’ve grown up eating Mozzarella balls like apples. Bringing the Mozzarella Bar to life at Downtown is very special to me, as it represents dishes from my childhood that I want to share with my food family in Australia”.

Nestled in the kitchen are two traditional Neapolitan brick-style pizza ovens hand-made by Napoli’s Visciano family especially for Matteo Downtown. One is used to make Orazio’s legendary pizza and the other to add charcoal and smoky flavours to dishes like the 600g wood-fired Ranger Valley ribeye grain-fed steak and roasted king prawns with bottarga. There is also a large rotisserie used to slow cook beef, chicken and pork, sourced from organic, grain-fed suppliers, and they will soon be introducing a ‘dine on request’ section that allows people to order whole suckling pig, prime rib, capretto lamb and roast chickens, 24 hours in advance.

What really sets Matteo Downtown apart is its embrace of the traditional Italian aperitivo culture – what owner Adam Abrams describes as the “opportunity to gather, have a laugh and unwind”. Five days a week from 4pm-6pm, guests can gather at the bar and sip on a selection of wine, beer, and cocktails – accompanied by complimentary snacks, as per the Italian evening tradition. Snacks are delivered on roaming trays and showcase whatever produce D’Elia decides is best on the day – pizzetta, calzone, octopus bites and fried school prawns, accompanied perfectly by the delicate and refreshing signature Downtown Spritz (Ketel One Vodka, Aperol, Fiorente elderfower liqueur, grapefruit bitters, Prosecco and home-made cucumber soda).Thursday and Friday afternoons will feature leading Sydney DJs, setting the tone for the evening ahead. 

The stylish bar is framed by an installation of art by Daimon Downey, inspired by old-school Italian posters with food-related innuendos and puns that capture the Italian passion for eating and drinking. Here, Bar Manager Maurizio Furiani serves an innovative drinks list, focused on uncomplicated, classic Italian flavours, with fewer ingredients but using top quality, seasonal produce. Furiani is passionate about using the right products with the right technique, evident in Downtown’s signature spritz and negroni. The drinks also feature uncommon Italian spirits and small batch liquours such as Italicus (Rosolio di Bergamotto made from native Italian Botanicals), Puni Sole (the first Italian Malt Whisky), Strega (an old school herbal liqueur made from saffron and honey liqueur), and Gin del Professore Madame (an Italian gin collaboration between famous distiller Carlos Quaglia and the Jerry Thomas Project, an Italian bar that is one of the best in the world).

Curated by Head Sommelier Chiara Danieli (ex Guillaume, est. and Da Vittorio, Bergamo), Matteo Downtown offers delicious and approachable Italian organic red and white wine varietals on tap, sourced from Orsogna Winery in Cheiti, Italy. The space also features an impressive wine wall made up of nearly 300 bottles, a masterpiece in itself that will cover the back wall of the dining room. The wine wall is set to different temperatures depending on the grape variety, ensuring that the product will always be served at optimal level. The extensive wine list features everything from big names in wine to some of Italy’s greatest reds from the bolder Barolo (produced in Northern Italy from the Nebbiolo grape) to the slightly lighter Barbaresco (also made from the Nebbiolo grape), to Australian varietals and natural wines.

Matteo Downtown is the brainchild of hospitality team, The Adored Group. Having individually already launched some of Sydney’s most beloved dining and drinking destinations including Kittyhawk, Lobo Plantation, The Island and Da Orazio, Adam Abrams, Orazio D’Elia, and Eddie Levy joined forces to open their first venue together, Matteo Double Bay, in 2017.  The trio is now making their mark on Sydney’s CBD and are bringing with them their combined passion, knowledge and infectious love of having a great time.

Matteo Downtown
20 Bond Street, Sydney NSW 2000, Australia
Mon – Fri: 7am-12am, Sat: 5pm-12am

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