Classico Moderno is an Italian pop-up restaurant currently located in Darlinghurst, set up by Italian chef Bryan Gerlini. You may know that name in connection with Darlinghurst’s most loved pop-up restaurant to date – Cafe Paci. Apparently he did a stint there! However, don’t expect the food to be anything like Cafe Paci’s. It’s an Italian restaurant and well, everything about it is very…Italian.
So it took us a little while to work out the menu. Luckily we had the most charismatic Italian waiter to help us out. There’s three separate menus – Emilia (Land – meat), Romagna (Coast – fish), and Pianura (The Valley – vegetarian). You can have the whole menu in the form of a 6 course degustation or you can do as we did and have a 3 course menu for $45 excluding drinks. With the 3 course menu you can also choose anything from any of the three menus…so it kind of works like an a la carte menu. But I think they also have an a la carte menu…so yeah. Loads of choice. We started our meal with these savoury cannoli – really crunchy crisp bread sort of shell with a patê filling. Super tasty!
I went with an entree from the Vegetarian menu, mysteriously titled Benvenuti in Pianura (Welcome to Pianura). Turns out it was three little vegetarian snacks – a steamed lentil bun with zucchini and two deep fried gnocchi with seasonal vegetables. Really lovely start to the meal! DS had the Seppie e Piselli (Squid cooked two ways, served with pea purée) which was extremely bright in colour. He said it was okay, but not amazing.
For the 3 course menu, you can actually pick three of whichever course you want, so you don’t have to have an entree, a main and a dessert. DS, not being a sweet tooth, actually picked two main courses. The first one was Tagliolini Verdi con Ragù di Vongole (House -made spinach tagliolini with slow-cooked clam ragù) which he said again was okay, but nothing that special (although very tasty). He then also had the Brasato al Lambrusco (Slow-cooked beef cheek with lambrusco, rocket and spinach powder) which he said was very good! But spinach powder…I’m always like, really? Does it add much? Could you just have spinach instead?
I had the classic Tagliatelle alla Bolognese (Silky hand-made ribbon-cut pasta served with pork and beef bolognese sauce). Our waiter highly recommended this because it’s just the classic Italian pasta. If they can’t do this right, then they’ve got no hope. I must say it was truly excellent. The meat to sauce to pasta ratio was perfect and I’d happily have this simple dish again. Double ticks from me.
The highlight of the meal for me, though, was actually the dessert. I had the Mousse di Yogurt (Yoghurt mousse with seasonal fruit and aged balsamic vinegar). The seasonal fruit turned out to be sour cherries and there was something incredible about the mix of flavours of the cherry, the yoghurt and the basil that they added. Oh and apparently the aged balsamic vinegar costs like a million dollars so they only give you approximately 3 drops. Such an interesting yet simple dessert. Rarely do I think adding herbs to desserts works – but this time it did! Props to them for this dish.
I’m not sure how long Classico Moderno are around for so if you’re into Italian and keen to try it out, I’d suggest going along sooner rather than later!
172-174 Liverpool Street