Chef Bryan Gerlini is set to give Sydney diners a culinary geography lesson at his new pop-up venture, Classico Moderno Restaurant.
Tagliatelle bolognese, lasagne, eggplant parmigiana, prosciutto, balsamic vinegar, parmesan cheese, mortadella… dishes and ingredients that are synonymous with Italian cuisine. Did you they know all originated in Italy’s Emilia-Romagna region?
Inspired by his time with chef Pasi Petanen, who transformed an old Mexican joint into Café Paci, an award-winning pop-up that lasted two years, Gerlini is sub-leasing the site of La Pesa, at 172 to 174 Liverpool Street, Darlinghurst, for an as yet undetermined period.
“It may be open for six months, it may thrive for 18 months – it’s a gamble,” Gerlini explains.
“That makes it both exciting and scary. “I’ll be serving the food of my region, Emilia-Romagna. It stretches from the Apennine Mountains, through the fertile Po River Valley, to the coast. Our staples are pasta, meat – particularly pork – and fresh seafood, teamed with the fruits and vegetables of the land.”
Gerlini, the founding head chef of Leichhardt’s Capriccio Osteria, gives “nonna” food a modern spin, with cotechino and lentil sliders and cannoli di mortadella among his signature snacks.
Joining him on desserts is Francesco Guerra, formerly of Gelato Messina. Classico Moderno will offer some of Sydney’s best value-for-money dining, with six-course menus inspired by Emilia – the land, and Romagna – the coast, at $65 per person, and a design-your-own three course option at $45, with additional courses at $15 each. Complimentary snacks and a pre-dessert are included, and there is a focus on course-matched wine options.