I was staying in Pyrmont, but wasn’t in the mood for the various name venues at The Star. I wanted something intimate and comfortable, where I wouldn’t feel self-conscious by being a solo diner. Bar Zini ticked all the boxes.
In the evenings, Bar Zini transforms from a small neighbourhood breakfast/lunch café to an Italian-inspired bistro. While there is an a la carte menu on Thursday through Saturday, Tuesdays and Wednesdays are special nights – “Pasta & Pinot” and “Roast & Vino” respectively. $25 gets you a main plus a glass of wine.
The blackboard dinner menu changes every night. On the Tuesday I visited there was Sicilian olives, bruschetta, a salad, a choice of two pastas and one dessert. Given the tiny kitchen, it is not surprising that the menu is quite compact.
After a recommendation from my friendly waiter, I decided on the ricotta ravioli with pumpkin puree and burnt sage butter. I wasn’t drinking wine, but I was offered a substitute, and selected a CAPI sparkling grapefruit drink.
The ravioli was magnificent. Soft cheesy pillows, incredibly smooth pumpkin, sweet nuttiness from the burnt butter, crispy sage leaves and a light sprinkling of a hard cheese (possibly parmigiano reggiano). I scooped up every drop.
I had been contemplating the bruschetta – with ricotta, mushrooms and pesto – as an entrée, but decided it would be better suited to share. The ones served up to the other diners looked fantastic – and very generous in size! It would have been a whole meal by itself. The salad – rocket, radicchio, pistachio, red grape and feta – looked equally splendid, as did the alternative pasta – pappardelle with lamb bolognaise.
Bar Zini is rightly very popular with locals – with a constantly changing menu there would always be something new to try. Snug and cosy inside, the more popular tables were outside on the footpath – a very pleasant spot on a warm evening.