Step into Danks Street Produce Merchants in Waterloo and you’ll be greeted by fresh produce, artisan goods, and an Italian dining experience housed in the the building where Fratelli Fresh once dwelled. Brought to you by the team behind Fourth Village Providore in Mosman, Danks Street Produce Merchants and the restaurant above it, Mezzanino Ristorante, offer authentic, fresh Italian food.
Piattini (share plates) roam around the restaurant on stunning marble trolleys to start your meal. It’s an experience that’s reminiscent of yum cha – though instead of stamping on paper, your oder is placed through a tablet that’s affixed to the trolley.
It’s a unique experience because I love seeing what the dish looks like before making a decision (cue endless scrolling through Instagram prior to ordering a dish).
The roasted corn cob ($10) is well presented, sitting atop its husk that’s been folded into a flower shape. Gratinated with parmesan and dressed with chilli and lime, the flavours complement each other tremendously well.
Panfritto con salsa all’arrabbiata ($10) is a carb-lover’s dream. Deep fried pizza dough is served with a flavoursome arrabbiata sauce. Arrabiata translates to “angry” as the sauce is typically spicy. The sauce is the star here, bringing depth of flavour and tomato intensity.
Other than the piattini, seasonal influences dictate the handmade pastas and mains, which change all the time.
The ravioli di pollo filled with chicken & truffle paste, hazelnuts, and a delightful jus ($28) hits home with super savoury notes. The ravioli are al dente, plump, and generous, but it’s that fantastically umami and silky jus that impresses us the most.
For those who like their pasta creamy, opting for the fettuccine con fichi with fresh figs, taleggio, cream, and crushed pistachios ($26) will be a fine reward. The dish strikes a wonderful balance between savoury and sweet and the only minor letdown is that the fettuccine is slightly past the point of al dente.
We don’t try the spaghetti carbonara though we have a brilliant view of it prepared in a giant cheese wheel, then topped with crispy pancetta and finished with olive oil.
Dessert and cheese is once again displayed on a trolley that rolls over to our table. I’m liking the look of the pannacotta and the cannoli, but I’m fixated on the ricotta cheesecake once I see it.
After we take our pick the trolley is rolled away again to serve the ricotta cheesecake on a plate with strawberry jam and vanilla gelato. Luckily we decide to share it because it’s a generous slice and everything on the plate is absolutely delicious, especially that creamy ricotta cheesecake filling.
Portions are generous and service is friendly at Mezzanino. Don’t forget to stroll through Danks Street Produce Merchants downstairs after lunch.
The restaurant is only open for lunch, but evenings are available for events and functions.
Address: 3 Danks St, Waterloo, 2017
Opening Hours: Daily 11am-4pm