You probably haven’t even noticed but I’m not exactly built like a Gazelle. I’m one of those people, as good luck would have it, where my size makes me relatively close to the earth. This is great for lots of things. Skiing* and snowboarding*. Plane flights. Squeezing to the front of the mosh pit without getting the stink eye from your fellow festival goers.
What it isn’t so good for is the bar stool. If the name of the game is anything but downing martinis ’til you nearly backward flip off said bar stool, I can’t stand them. When a waiter says we have a table available on the bar they might as well be saying can I set you a table on the pavement out front.
Please let me know if you have a different point of view but being expected to eat a genuine bonafide meal ‘at the bar’ is a total pain. Maybe at a Diner. Maybe at a Teppanyaki Bar or where the theatre of preparation forms part of the experience. But as a general rule, I’m blah to the bar as a dining option. Unfortunately in the interests of maximising space and turnover, if I want to get seated in some of my favorite restaurants in this city then I need to be prepared to perch.
And so it is that we are at Maurice’s new ‘so-hot-right-now’ Bondi restaurant where you wait a good hour and a half for this plum seat at the bar. But here’s the thing. Da Orazio is a pizza and porchetta space. And it’s very good. So if you are offered a table of any description, bar stool or otherwise, you should most definitely take it.
Let’s start with the pizza. Da Orazio rests its pizzas for 24 hours which presumably means that your patience is rewarded with a superior puffy and chewy pizza dough. Whatever they’re doing it’s working. We’re trying their Prosciutto pizza which is everything your looking for in the perfect slice and very unlikely to disappoint.
We’re also trying the Sardines with Ricotta and Tomato & Olives – an unexpected combination that is gorgeous. The saltiness of the fish pairs perfectly with the ricotta which is flecked with chopped mint. Perfectly combined, seasoned and dressed with olive oil and simple enough that you wonder how restaurants get it wrong.
My love of pork is well documented on this blog so a restaurant touting porchetta as its speciality is always going to get my attention. Da Orazio roasts their pork all day in readiness for the dinner service and on first sampling it is a triumph. When you’re doing your own roasting at home and you’re madly stuffing with herbs and garlic for maximum flavour, the result that Da Orazio capture is pretty much what you’re striving for. Heady with fennel, tender and juicy, the pork, served with lemon and its own pan juices, it serves for two, four or eight.
Accompanied with the terrific salad this is a pretty splendid meal.
The lamb skewers are great for tiding you over at lunchtime when the pork isn’t available (Porchetta is only available after 5pm). These cheeky little skewered sticks are chargrilled and tasty.
Finally we’ve noticed the popularity of the preserve jars full of dessert that we had to skip the first visit but are determined to accommodate this time around. Little pots of tiramisu are rich with mascarpone and good to share when you’re up to your eyes in pie and pork. Delicious.
Da Orazio also represents great value. We spent as much on the first time we went to dinner as we spent on cocktails from Mr Moustache whilst we waited for our tables.
Great for date night, girls night or group night just get in early with a booking if you want to avoid the bar stool.
* I don’t do either of these things but if I did I reckon being close to earth would be very handy (if you know what I mean).
69-73 Hall Street, Bondi Beach | +61 2 8090 6969