For decades, Leichhardt’s Norton Street has long been known as Sydney’s ‘Little Italy’.
The once buzzing hot-spot of cafes, bars and restaurants has undergone many changes over the past decade which has seen a lot of these establishments close down.
While the foot traffic on the street has fallen, new additions in recent years, such as Capriccio Osteria, will ensure that Norton Street will still be buzzing for some time to come. Capriccio Osteria challenges the norm of Italian cuisine with head chef Nicole Bampton’s (Tetsuya’s, Sepia, Lucio’s) passion for quality Australian produce and the flavours of Italy. Diners are taken on a culinary journey and can expect quality “traditional Italian staples with unique Australian twists.”
We recently ventured out to Norton Street to experience such a journey at Capriccio Osteria. Upon being seated by friendly staff, we perused the menu which is broken up into three sections – shared items, woodfired dishes and pasta. It’s quite stripped-back so you wont be drowning in options and spending hours choosing your meals.
Sharing is encouraged with dishes including Sydney rock oysters, mixed Italian olives, Culatello di Zibello, Chicken liver pate, stracciatella, radicchio, and more. We’d recommend starting with the heirloom tomatoes, buffalo mozzarella and basil oil – Capriccio Osteria’s version of the caprese salad. This refreshing Italian flag-coloured salad is one of our favourites and will no doubt be a hit this summer. Another great starter is the ouzo cured ocean trout carpaccio with grapefruit and roe mayonnaise. It’s light, it’s delectable, it’s perfect before exploring one of the heavier meals.
Woodfired options include house made rosemary focaccia, fennel, potato and parmesan gratin, witlof with gorgonzola, calamari, spatchcock, Jack’s Creek beef rump cap steak, and Greek-style lamb shoulder. We opted to try the asparagus spears roasted with orange butter and hazelnut romesco. Spicy, crunchy and absolutely delicious – we devoured these like there was no tomorrow.
The pasta here is quite spectacular and made by hand “the proper Italian way”. They aren’t saturated or hidden in heavy sauces with options including ravioli, gnocchi, and squid ink spaghetti. But the one we dived into was the hand cut beetroot pappardelle with duck ragu. The long-simmered pasta sauce is intensely flavourful and something quite different from the norm. The same could be said of the next dish we tackled: blood orange fazzoletti with scallops and bottarga. This one took us to another level – just scrumptious!
If you have enough room in the belly for dessert, we highly recommend giving the basil panna cotta with slow roasted pineapple a try. It’s not often we come across basil featured in a dessert so it really caught us by surprise. It’s truly unique and simply delectable. If you’re curious about what’s hip and happening at Norton Street, head down to Capriccio Osteria – you won’t regret it.
159 Norton St, Leichhardt