It’s golden and glossy, perfectly round, and got a very nice wobble. Burst this baby open and you still wouldn’t suspect a thing. So just why is a humble egg yolk causing a bit of a buzz around town? The piece de resistance atop a charcoal-activated carbonara at the brand new Mark + Vinny’s Spaghetti and Spritz Bar in Surry Hills, this ‘yolk’ is actually sweet potato and plant based parmesan. Yup, this is vegan fare like you’ve never seen it before.
There are a couple of reasons Mark + Vinny’s should be on top of your must eat now. For one, it’s definitely Sydney’s coolest classic Italian joint – the lights are low, the Aperol is flowing (more on that later) and the polished concrete is on point. Then there’s the CVs of its founders Mark Filippelli and Vince Pizzinga. Their Melbourne Matcha Mylkbar was the scene of the very first sweet potato yolk, among many other plant based dishes. Vince, not to rest on his laurels, is also a well-known music composer, and has named one of the many spritz cocktails after good friend Delta Goodrum – The Delta is a lavender-based beauty that makes for very easy drinking. And then there’s head chef Adrian Jankuloski, with Icebergs Dining Room, North Bondi Italian and The Dolphin under his belt. Throw in Peppes Pasta maker Joe Cassaniti, supplementing the house made pasta, and you have a winning combination.
It’s important to point out that this is definitely not an entirely vegan restaurant. There’s plenty of meat and dairy too. The Maccaruni Calabrese with beef rib ragu melts in your mouth and is a hearty, carby fix. Then there’s the blue pasta dish. Bright blue spirulina tagliatelle, with blue swimmer crab, bottorga and pangrattato is not some light shade of blue, it’s like a Bridget Jones leek soup, nice and bright. Add in fresh leaves and herbs ‘From Nonna’s Backyard’, and definitely don’t pass up on a chance to tuck into a fried cauliflower and cashew cream dish dotted with puffed grain that is too good to be healthy.
Desserts also fall into that category – full of good ingredients like cacao nibs so you can dig in guilt free, sort of. The ‘no-tella’ fried ravioli with cacao nibs and coconut ice cream and an Apple Pie Agnolotti are both vegan so in our books the calories definitely don’t count. Like we said, sort of.
Now we can’t forget to talk about the spritz menu. There are more than 50 to choose from, with plenty of Aperol, but also lots of unusual ingredients like bush tonic, kombucha and scorched hazelnuts. There’s Fly Me To The Moon, an ode to the neon sign above the kitchen, with Aperol, Four Pillars Negroni gin and fresh grapefruit, or The Pash Me Spritz, with Vermoth bianco, passionfruit and prosecco. Try The Kombucha Spritz, or Vince and Mark’s own spritzes, and a fun We Thought Mum Was Drinking Tea.
Mark + Vinny’s Spaghetti and Spritz Bar
38 Waterloo Street, Surry Hills