10 Nield Avenue has a rather spacious and industrial feel. This fabulous Italian best is housed after all in a former tyre factory. Yet - the mother and daughter Toppi lineage has transformed this space into a 2020 contemporary vibe Italian restaurant and bar that just shouts modern Sydney.
Black and white photos of seven or more decades of international celebrities rotate around the wall. In itself, this is massively entertaining, and qualifies Bar M in Rushcutters Bay as the No. 1 first date space in Sydney. Just imagine (for all of us that have been there - or still are) you want to go somewhere sophisticated yet simply elegant and with smooth as silk service but what do you do in those awkward gaps in first date conversation. This amazing array of larger than life Bar M photos will entertain you all night, and can even provide a conversation starter. Date night? Bar M (formerly known as Bar Machiavelli) is open from 5.30pm Monday to Saturday and open for lunch 12.30pm every Friday.
Yes, at first glance the photos are entertaining. But dig deeper and you find there is reason behind the celebrity homage. La Strada the restaurant mum Giovanna opened on Macleay Street, Potts Point took the name from one of her favourite Fellini films starring Anthony Quinn and Giulietta Masina. In the Bar M blog daughter Paolo shares old shoeboxes containing photos and newspaper clippings with thanks from celebrities such as INXS, Gordon Sumner (Sting), Simple Minds, Meatloaf, Queen, Mark Knoffler (Dire Straits), Graham Nash (Crosby, Stills and Nash), Cindy Lauper, Johnny Depp, Joan Baez and Bob Geldof - just to name a few!
"Now I’m at Bar M with my daughter, Paola, and feel at home again. Being here has given me a new lease on life. I’ve been reinvigorated by the young people, the crowd, the music… it’s like a cinema, it’s like La Dolce Vita all over again.” 82 years young Giovanna Toppi shared recently saying she feels younger than ever and is brimming with enthusiasm and new ideas.
And yes yes, while Bar M is like a cinema, it stands alone on the exceptional service and food that only this kind of restaurant lineage can offer. Service that is provided by career professionals; they know their menus - food and beverage, they know when to interrupt (on a first date or any other gathering) and everything is correct and seamless with just enough touch of casual.
And yes yes yes, we are saving the best until last. The Italian food, is top notch sensational, drawing on traditional and bringing subtle updates into the now. Gorgeous ingredients, classically treated with perfection in craftsmanship, with just a bit of added oomph. Take for example deeply satisfying crispy prosciutto with balsamic glazed figs. Or any of the pastas. Bar M is reowned for their house made pasta delights. Duck ragout is a stand out sauce. But my advice is, just like when dating, don't limit yourself. There are plenty of delicious options to choose from. Perfect execution goes right through to dessert - and a very rich chocolate mousse like baked chocolate cream, pannacotta with gorgeous adornments of berries and meringues. Just as good, and maybe even better, is the Bar M (best in Sydney) tiramisu.
Fun fact: did you know it could possibly be the best way to end date night as Tiramisu means 'pick me up'. (Although I'm sure it is the 'other' meaning - why not add to your chances of first date success?)
What more could you ask for? Well, a lovingly gathered wine list to suit every taste, and a marvelous selection by the glass. Then add cocktails from the classics to the zippy signatures such as Keep Sydney Open. There are stools at the bar, if you don't want to do dinner for your date, or even just to start the night with aperitif before you move to your table. Layer up layer of flavour and texture across all the food and beverages. And get our biggest yes yet. With not one foot put wrong, and everything oh so perfectly all right, we give Bar M a perfect review score of 5 out of 5.
Or when in Italy should we say sì? Or even better as INXS once wrote of the Toppi food - Buonissimo!