Ain't Nonna's

Jackie McMillan
24th Apr 2023

With a succinct one-page menu offering snacks, three pastas, two mains, sides and desserts, Ain’t Nonna’s, delivers a contemporary Italian experience. The indoor-outdoor restaurant at the base of a medium density residential block in Wollongong’s CBD delivers good bang for your buck and quality food. Arrange your own aperitivo sharing board with crisp battered zucchini flowers ($5/each) oozing herby ricotta. Smear Vanella burrata ($12) onto four fingers of springy focaccia ($6) to contrast with their accompanying ‘nduja butter. Thin slices of San Daniele prosciutto ($14) aged for 16-months can be wrapped around everything for extra oomph. Plump Sydney rock oysters ($5/each) are cleverly balanced on wine corks with their origin—Merimbula—on the tip of our friendly server’s tongue. 

The equally compact drinks list opens with cocktails, like a smooth Starward Whisky new old fashioned ($17). It covers off birra including an enjoyable Principle hazy pale ale ($9), and rounds things off with eight wines. The textural white—a 2021 Starrs Reach Chardonnay/fiano blend ($14/glass)—is a good match to the market fish ($32), coral trout on the evening I dined, in a rich and well-seasoned butter sauce with ribbons of celeriac. Cavatelli bolognaise ($29) teamed slightly dense shell pasta with a spichorizo bolognaise in a shareable serving size. Balance it with bitter leaves ($12) with tangy mustard dressing and compelling candied pepitas. This might not be Nonna’s cooking but it’s a restaurant that leaves you feeling the nourishment you might associate with your grandmother’s table.