The Strand Arcade, 412 – 414 George Street, Sydney NSW
(02) 9231 6117 or www.pendolino.com.au
Juliet draped over her balcony waxing lyrical to a bleeding-hearted Romeo is probably the only scene of Verona most could conjure up. And it seems Italian restaurateur Nino Zoccali is tapping into that sentimentality with his latest venture, Pendolino: the subtle blend of a moodily lit setting, Italian maitre-des and a sumptuous wine list all invite star-crossed lovers to make a scene of their own. Dominic Alvaro from architects Woods Bagot tailored Zoccali’s Veronese vision to the heritage form of Sydney’s Strand Arcade: exposing the brick walls; building a dimly lit wine cellar, made from heavy blackened steel metalwork typical of northern Italian blacksmithing, stacked to the brim with wine and olive oil bottles; devising a series of iron screens with a floriate pattern found in the streets of Verona; and installing olive tree branch lights by Italian master Michele de Lucchi. Olive oil plays a big part in the Italian concept. Pendolino means The Pendulum, an olive variety in Italy characterised by either hanging branches or olives. The restaurant even has an olive oil library, L’Olioteca, featuring a range of world-class Australian and Italian extra virgin olive oils and staff to help cooks pick the best oil for their kitchen. It also doubles as a private dining room for between 12 and 56 guests. Pendolino also has a strong sustainability focus with a kitchen designed for very high quality maximum foodservice capability. This may not sound particularly environmentally beneficial, especially when you learn that many of the innovations are centred on utilising fast food technology in this fine dining atmosphere. But the positive environmental ramifications sees the use of less raw product wastage, combined with a focus on low carbon footprint food, and organic, biodynamic and sustainable raw ingredients. Which includes their olive oil too, of course.