Now that Pacific Concepts is ready and willing to trudge forth into new territory, it seems the group has chosen to kick the post-lockdown life off by taking the somewhat inescapable Fratelli Fresh brand and upscaling it with a new standalone restaurant at Grosvenor Place. Carving out the same space that was once occupied by Rosetta, this reinvigorated version of Fratelli Fresh has brought credibility back to the brand.
I don’t think it a secret that Fratelli Fresh hasn’t commanded the same level of awe as it once did, with an aggressive expansion – which included a Fratelli Fresh in Westfield Sydney – diluting the brand. The past few times I’ve eaten at a Fratelli Fresh have been disappointing, to say the very least, and when I was invited to come along and try a taste of the new Fratelli Fresh Grosvenor Place, I didn’t have the highest expectations.
That was unfair of me. The hospitality group have done a truly remarkable job turning the former Rosetta digs into a glamorous Italian diner with a long-lunch ambiance that should, on appropriate days, spill out to the terrace bar for a few digestifs. Being Fratelli Fresh is now at 17-year-old brand, it makes sense for Pacific Concepts to put considerable effort into rejigging the brand to which they owe much of their success.
The scaled-up version of Fratelli Fresh is corporate through and through, but it’s a likeable space with ostentatious accents of gold and marble, and those beautiful red leather banquette. The venue sits 250 diners in total, and the large, semi-open kitchen stretches almost for an entire wall, dressed in pops of leafy green with hanging plants to add a nice visual contrast to the interior.
Consider this a more focused, or re-focused, Fratelli Fresh. You’ll still get plenty of the same dishes here, but it’s clear the kitchen pours more thought into them. The tempura zucchini flowers and prawn linguine should be fast-favourites for long-time fans of the brand, but the highlight of my small taste was the Cape Grim bistecca alla Fiorentina served simply with herb butter, Crab Taglioni, and the fresh Burrata served with grilled asparagus and confit cherry tomato. This trio is perhaps the best example of what you can expect across the menu – simplicity and great produce, nothing highly technical or unexpected, but classic dishes done well enough to hit the spot.
The steak was the most surprising. Perfectly cooked, not overly salted, and packed full of flavour.
There’s nothing that’ll distinguish the Fratelli Fresh menu from just about every casual Italian eatery in the city, but for the nearby business crowd, it’s now one of the better options in the area, and Head Chef Mariocristian Carella is clearly the right man for the job.
THREE AND A HALF STARS (OUT OF FIVE)
118 Harrington St, The Rocks | fratellifresh.com.au