Il Pontile Review

Reviewed by Georgia Cassimatis

The mere suggestion of dining along Woolloomooloo Wharf (also known as the Woolloomooloo Finger Wharf), with its rich history, stylish residences, skyscrapers and majestic boats, is enough to get the tastebuds flowing and the excitement buzzing.

Throw in the idea of feasting on Naples inspired Italian cuisine, and it feels like one might be scoring the trifecta of dining: where taste meets ambience, meets the perfect looking plate.

Il Pontile, the brainchild of fourth generation restaurateur and Chef Mario Percuoco, successfully creates this Italian seaside experience, in the heart of Sydney’s waterfront.

Along with award winning Executive Chef Pietro Parisi, their goal was to introduce Parisi’s globally coveted way of cooking: that is, an emotive dining experience, sophisticated in its simplicity, with a Neopolitan touch; where rural produce (pasta, vegetables and cheese) meets seafood.

With an impressive resumé; Parisi is one of ten ambassadors of the Mediterranean Diet worldwide, and has cooked for Pope Francis, the Italian President Mattarella, and European leaders Merkel and Sarkozy, expectations were high as we took a romantic stroll to the venue along the beautiful timber wharf.

Opened since the end of 2021, we were invited to taste their new culinary offering; the ‘Spuntino Veloce‘; translated as the ‘Quick Lunch’: a three-course set menu offered weekdays from 12pm-2pm.

Greeted by aesthetically pleasing Italian waiters with accents and smiles for days, the service was impeccable, and while the interior looked inviting with its cream arched doorways, leather couches, traditional artwork lining the walls, lending itself to a Meditteranean feel, it was suggested that dining outside with views of the water was the preferred experience. Dining seaside we soon discovered was like having a front row seat to the cosmopolitan, the bold, and the beautiful.

Opting to begin with the wine tasting, the Rudi Vindimian Muller Thurgau with its smooth, citrusy taste perfectly partnered my date’s choices of seafood, while I chose the light, dry Cembra Pinot Nero to match my desire to eat pasta. 

The Antipasti menu with its Arancini with black truffle and smoked provola, morphed into tastings of the Frittura di Gamberi e Calamari; classic Italian style fried prawns and calamari, and perhaps one of the most delicious dishes I have ever had the pleasure of tasting in my life: the Carpaccio di Manzo (Gluten Free): Venetian beef carpaccio, with crisp parmigiano Reggiano crumble, rucola sauce and caramelised pear. This dazzling combination of savoury and sweet flavours melded so perfectly my tastebuds were reminiscing about a time when sweet and savoury dishes were a glorious trend.

The Gnocchi alla Sorrentina (Vegan) continued the promise of simple, sophisticated food with its traditional Sorrento Gnocchi, baked in rich house made tomato sauce, on bubbling provolone cheese, with basil cream, while my date feasted on the Queensland King prawn with tartar sauce and Baked Salmon Crusted Fillet with lemon polenta and asparagus.

To end on a high, a perfect nightcap of limoncello: lemon flavoured Italian liquer, accompanied our desserts: Baba al Rum: traditional Neopolitan sponge pastry, served with spiced rum and seasonal fruits, and the Millefoglie: puff pastry with custard and seasonal fruit. While I gravitated more towards my date’s pastry dessert than mine, eating most of it, I did spy a plethora of dishes from the a la carte menu being served up to the growing clientele, making a note to be come back for more.

Spuntino Veloce Lunch at Il Pontile

Tuesday to Friday, from 12 pm – 2 pm.

*Except for public holidays.

Spuntino Veloce Lunch Menu – $75pp

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