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The rise of the laidback diner

Photo courtesy of Maurice Terzini

The rise of the laidback diner

It’s the age of the burger joint, fish shack and taco bar in Sydney, with many fine-dining chefs seeking refuge in more profitable, recession-proof business models. We’ve seen it with Warren Turnbull, who turned District Dining into good-times cantina Mexico Food and Liquor and sold the hatted Assiette before opening Chur Burger on Albion Street in Surry Hills.

Justin North took similar strides after the collapse of his Becasse empire, re-entering the game by flipping patties at The Burger Shed in Mosman on Sydney’s northern beaches. And more recently, Matt Moran has taken over the old North Bondi Italian site with the come-as-you-please North Bondi Fish.

Now, Maurice Terzini is the latest chef to apply his-fine dining cookery skills to a more laidback venture. The Bondi Icebergs and former Neild Avenue and North Bondi Italian operator has teamed up with long-time kitchen mate Orazio D’Elia (Popolo) and general manager Rachel Duffy to open Da Orazio Pizza + Porchetta under the Adina Apartments on Bondi’s Hall Street shop and dine stretch.

Channeling the beachside trattorias of the Amalfi, (Terzini describes it as “Rick Owens comes to Bondi”), Da Orazio, with its white-painted tables and pastel pink feature wall, has been designed with Melbourne architect Matthew Herbert to evoke the Italian seaside, despite it’s off-beach locale. But, stealing the show is a commanding, 2.7-tonne brick oven, flown in from Napoli to churn out bubbling woodfired pizze.

In the open kitchen, Orazio is slicing porchetta and serving up antipasti including delicacies from his home region of Abruzzo, such as arrosticini: tender, smoky lamb skewers which arrive with moreish, salty slices of pizza bread called schiacciatina.

Still, arguably the highlight here is the focaccia con porchetta; a $26 sandwich stuffed with juicy hunks of six-hour rotisserie-roasted pork, grilled eggplant and cos leaves. It’s not date-food, but this delicious, fatty heap is well worth the mess.

Da Orazio Pizza + Porchetta is certainly not lacking in the sparkle of Icebergs or Popolo – the only difference is you can show up here in your boardshorts and thongs just as easily as you could dolled up.

Da Orazio Pizza + Porchetta is located at 75-79 Hall Street, Bondi Beach, NSW

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