Bootleg Bar + Italian Food is an unobtrusive little bar cum restaurant that B has fallen in love with. Our trip there was her third in as many weeks. After walking in to cosy atmosphere with small bar tables and stools hunched together in the foreground, a few primo booths lining the wall opposite the bar and then cosy restaurant tables at the back, I can see the appeal. Since I havent been to New York I can’t comment on it being a NY feel, but to me it feels very Melbournesque. It’s intimate industrial edge with retro 80s boomboxes in glass cabinets, arty portraits of random rockers on the walls and discreet lighting.
The wine list is pretty decent. We choose something mid-range; the Murray Street Shiraz from the Barossa. Its a good pick at $40 a bottle. We knock off a couple of them along with San Vittoria sparkling water.
To start with we share 3 dishes; Crostini with Chicken Liver Pate $17 (the waitress helpfully suggests we get a fourth piece to cater for us all), the Salumi Plate $17 (prosciutto, salami, jamon with rounds of toasted baguette) and Bowl of Olives $8.
I’m a sucker for the “chalkboard specials”, and Jay branches out from the norm and orders, wait for it… pasta!!! I have slight food-envy when Jay gets his dish; the Gigante Provolone with spaghetti $29 and is one giant meatball served with a tomatoey spaghetti; garlic & herbed mince shaped around a bocconcini ball that oozes out into the squirly pasta when attacked. It is damn good. Maybe the best spaghetti meatball I’ve ever eaten! Mine arrives and I’m not disappointed; I have the most succulent Beef Cheeks $30; which tear apart with the lightest touch, served on creamy mash and are topped with parsnip chips. We all share sides of Rocket & Parmesan Salad $8 and Green Beans with Gremolata $12.
B & I order dessert to share with the table (Panna Cotta and a Cheese Platter). She accompanies it with a glass of dessert wine and Jay finishes with a whisky digestif.
Suitably full of good food and conversation, we head out into the night, staking our claim on a cosy lounge in trendy, crowded Victoria Room in Darlinghurst for a few hours of happy socialising.
Bootleg Bar + Italian Food, 175 Victoria Street, Potts Point 02 9361 3884.