10 Neild Ave, Rushcutters Bay, NSW 2011
Mon & Tues: 5pm-10pm, Wed & Thurs: 5pm – 12am, Fri: 12pm -12am & Sat: 5pm -12am
(02) 9357 7750
If you think you’ve found Sydney’s best pasta, but haven’t been to Bar M, then you’re in for a rude shock.
Rude because you’ve been missing out on some of the lightest, freshest, authentic carb-laden masterpieces you’d only expect to find along the coastline of Italy.
This is the wake-up call you need.
However, with 23 sensational savoury dishes on offer plus a further eight sides and an array of creamy desserts, you may feel awash with the anxiety of curating the perfect Italian spread. But that’s where we step in. For two hours, we escaped to (what felt like the) the Almalfi Coast (and was admittedly our comfortable wooden dining chairs) to graze, pick at and lovingly inhale a number of delicate dishes and aperitivo cocktails to do the hard and extremely enjoyable work for you.
Cominciamo – Let’s start.
Antipasto. It’s the foodie gift from up above. What isn’t there to love? Cheese – yes please. Salty and soft salumi – as much as possible. Delicious proscuitto-wrapped morsels – we can’t get enough.
Simply put, it’s the best thing since sliced bread. And maybe that’s because sturdy slices of sourdough additionally adorn an antipasto board. However, antipasto is also the cruel temptation you need to control. To go too hard on the pretty in pink meat, cheese and bread selection will only restrict your culinary journey throughout the pasta and secondi stages. So be wise. And how to be wise at Bar M is by focusing on the absolute must-have antipasto dishes: the Ribbons of Beetroot ($26) and the Baked Figs ($27).
We hear the cries, “only beetroot & figs?!”
But rest your weary food-craving hearts, these two dishes are surrounded by the antipasto’s true love – burrata and prosciutto. The Ribbons of Beetroot are served in the form of an adult’s version of pass-the-parcel. Strips of thin and wide fuschia beetroot are wrapped around a hidden ball of Burrata heaven. As you cut into the parcel the colours of fuchsia and stark white run into each other, creating a perfectly pink-hued palate of fresh and creamy cheese with a hint of beetroot bitterness.
But where’s the crunch?
In the form of several caramelised fig halves coated in sweet-sticky deliciousness, we are treated to the fruit dressed in crunchy sheets of baked prosciutto. The perfect mix of hard and soft, sweet and salty- and that’s why the Baked Figs are a must.
Then, the main event; the pasta. This is a hard one. One decision you can’t take lightly. So we’re recommending two.
The Gnocchetti Scampi ($49) are not only light peanut M&M sized balls of gnocchi, but are fresh and lovingly coated in a medley of herbs, cherry tomatoes and lemon zest. The salty meat of the scampi pairs perfectly with the pasta. It’s one of the only times gnocchi won’t leave you in a food-coma state. Our second pick, the Fettuccine Porcini ($36), trumped the sauced ones. The fettuccine is instead swirled onto a bed of basil pesto, sauteed porcini and pecorino cheese. It’s creamy without the cream, it’s warm without the heat and it’s hearty without the meat. It is a truly decadent and wonderful vegetarian pasta dish, that any carnivorous diner will love.
The best thing about Italian cuisine is that the secondi (second course) dishes are really your third course. Imagine a life where antipasto doesn’t count as an entree or first course. It’s a rite. One which we plan on adopting.
Again (not because we are terrible at making decisions), there are two highlights of the secondi series: the Wagyu Eye Fillet Alla Pizzaiola ($49) and the Spatchcock ($39). Perfectly seared wagyu sits as the star of the show, covered in a rich sauce made of tomatoes, garlic, parsley and chilli. It’s the decadent touch to your thus far ‘light’ feast. The Spatchcock served butterflied and oven-roasted, is adorned with rosemary, baby peas, bacon and a white wine jus. It’s a little fiddly, but when isn’t spatchcock? It’s crunchy, salty and morish.
Now if you think you’re full, you must push on.
To end your visit to Bar M on a sweet note, dessert is a must and we’re not going to convince you to order the expected Tiramisu (even though Bar M’s is exceptional). We’re going off track. We’re going back to this country’s roots and encouraging the Pavlova ($18). That’s right, pavlova at an authentic Italian restaurant. And let us tell you, it’s superb. A sweet cloud of fairy floss encases the mini melt-in-your-mouth-meringue, topped with lightly whipped Chantilly cream and seasonal fruits. It’s (again) fresh, light and bright and the perfect touch of sweetness to round out your Italian banquet.
Feature image: Prosciutto Figs, image via Jasper Ave. Image supplied.