Review: Margherita & Co – CBD (Sydney)

Margherita & Co is like a little slice of Italy. The new restaurant in the Hordern Arcade at World Square in Sydney looks poised to bring food that is buona and bella (good and beautiful – doesn’t everything sound better in Italian?) to a spot previously renowned for Asian eateries. The concept is courtesy of owner Jim Kospetas (Universal Hotels). The restaurant is essentially a fast-paced café where you can get good quality Italian food.

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The décor of Margherita & Co is an impressive mix of different genres and styles. The bright logo looks like it’s a classic pop art print while the menu at the front of the restaurant looks like it’s pure art deco. Inside the tables and chairs are set out like a bright and fresh garden party and are complimented by colourful shutters and a white fence. The music is upbeat and funky and supports the notion that this is a casual dining restaurant, which should be a hit for the busy office workers and locals living nearby.

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This restaurant is sister to Margherita’s., which is slated to open in mid-July and will be a fine dining restaurant seating up to 120 people. It will also host an exquisite wine bar while the menus for the two restaurants come courtesy of Executive Chef, Robert Taylor (Swine & Co.)

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Margherita & Co have a range of different entrees available. To start we had the polenta fries with parmesan and rosemary salt ($9). The sea salt was a tasty side accompaniment, which really brought out the flavour in the golden, crisp pillows of chip. It was also served with a sauce that was like a Bolognese meets sour cream.

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The arancini balls ($12) come in a set of four and are served in a little tray resembling the carton from a box of eggs. These were made out of mushrooms, fontina cheese and black truffle and were served with a spicy Calabrian caviar called sardella. These morsels were very tasty and almost creamy in flavour and the spice added a little twist or kick to keep things interesting.

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The menu also includes a range of salads like the chicken & chickpea ($15) and cauliflower & pancetta ($14). The one we tried could also be renamed the “Forza Italia!” because it boasted the colours of the Italian flag. It was the vegan and gluten-free tomato & buffalo mozzarella, basil and fried capers salad ($11). The cheese was soft and velvety while the freshness and crispness of the raw tomato was really scrumptious, especially when you got a burst of the capers and basil.

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The seafood pizza ($24) was like having a frutti di mare (fruits of the sea) in pizza form. It was topped with prawn, calamari, baby octopus, cherry tomatoes, béchamel sauce (the white sauce typically seen in lasagnes), gremolata (a chopped herb condiment made from lemon zest, garlic and parsley), mozzarella and chilli flakes. This had a crisp and golden crust while the chilli added a little hum to our swim with the fishes.

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The beef ravioli with onion, tomato sauce and basil ($18) were also very good. The filling reminded me of a tortellini pasta (because most people are probably used to vegetarian ravioli options). When the pasta was eaten along with the red sauce it was very reminiscent of a Bolognese flavour. Margherita & Co offer gluten-free pastas and they also have a $40 dinner deal that includes any pizza, pasta and shared plate from the menu.

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Those with a sweet tooth will also be pleased to know that Margherita & Co sell gelato ($5) and affogato ($8) as well as a range of home-made pastries. They have a big window filled every morning with Nutella doughnuts and the like but you have to get in quick. For dessert we had the absolutely irresistible flourless chocolate cake with hazelnut ($6). The topping was just like having a sneaky scoop of Nutella straight from the jar.

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The Margherita stable looks big and bright like your nonna with a glint in her eye. But for now Margherita & Co is like the cool, younger sister next to what will be its more mature, older sibling (the fine dining restaurant that is to come). Margherita & Co is all about fast service and casual dining in a laidback atmosphere, just like you would get at the casa famiglia. But just remember the food is perfetto Italiano. Bellissima!

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Margherita & Co
Address: Shop 12 & 15, 91 Liverpool St, Hordern Arcade Sydney NSW 2000
Contact: (02) 92838634
Website: http://www.universalhotels.com.au/margheritaandco/
Facebook: www.facebook.com/margheritaandco
Opening Hours: Monday-Friday: 7am – 10pm; Saturday: 11am – 11 pm; Sun: 11am – 10 pm

 

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