Sydney-based travel, film and music writer, www.jasminecrittenden.net
Published February 8th 2015
Generous in size, big on flavour, excellent value
Despite fronting onto busy Liverpool Lane, Gazzi has the ambience of a tranquil hideaway. Once you're inside, you feel as though you're a long way from World Square. This is, in part, thanks to the eatery's clever design: a vine-covered trellis separates the intimate space from the outside world. It is also an achievement of its Mediterranean-inspired aesthetic: subtle greens and whites and light furniture create a bright, airy atmosphere.
A world away from the city
Owner, Con Lepouris, opened the doors in November 2014. He's no novice on the Sydney dining scene, having already run a successful café in Market Street. "With Gazzi, we wanted to create a new dining experience for the CBD based on fresh, gourmet cuisine accompanied by a range of quality beers, wines and cocktails," he said in a media statement. "We are hoping patrons will find it along the lines of the food offerings of Surry Hills, Alexandria and Rosebery – but with the convenience of being in the CBD." The restaurant takes its name from an ex-gasworks site in Athens, which has been turned into a bustling hospitality precinct.
Generous in size, big on flavour
Dishes are generous in size, big on flavour and terrific value for money. Classic Mediterranean recipes interweave with modern Australian influences, taking imaginative twists and turns. I start with truffle butter popcorn ($8), fried to crispy perfection, its subtle flavour enhanced by a light sprinkling of sea salt and black pepper. My partner opts for zucchini flowers, which come large, succulent and stuffed with smooth goats curd and sea salt ($15). They're well-matched with a blood orange margarita and a mojito. If you're a cocktail fiend, pop down anytime on a Friday or Saturday and they'll be all yours for just $7 a pop.
$7 cocktails all day Friday and Saturday
Next up, I indulge in a rich, twice-cooked potato gnocchi, with fresh basil, confit tomato, buffalo mozzarella and parmesan ($17), while a hearty Grand Angus burger, crowded with honey mustard, pickles, swiss cheese and aioli, is my partner's pick. Sides arrive in the form of chunky, hand cut chips with confit rosemary ($5) and fennel slaw with roasted cashews and fresh lemon ($5). We pair them with an excellent pinot noir.
Hand-cut chips with rosemary
Each dish has obviously been planned and cooked with a passionate, bountiful, creative approach to food, and an emphasis on fresh ingredients. So it's no surprise that the Gazzi menu is ever evolving, with new culinary adventures announced on the restaurant's Facebook page. In early February, a lush burger line was added, featuring the Zeus (lamb, tomato, fried parsley, tzatziki, onion and sweet paprika), the Yakuza (Rangers Valley kobe, baby cos, sweet and sour onion, baby radish, sea weed and wasabi aioli) and the Peri Peri Chook (chicken fillet crumbed with smoked bacon, baby cos and peri peri sauce).
Gazzi's newest burgers
Gazzi is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Both sit-down diners and takeaway orders are welcome.