Where Billy Kwong once stood, there's now hearty homemade Italian.
The team behind A Tavola in Bondi and Darlinghurst have laid claim to a hallowed piece of Surry Hills, with the opening of their brand new Italian eatery and bar, Besser. Located at 3/355 Crown Street, former haunt of Billy Kwong, Besser promises an Italiano informale experience, with tasty Italian food in a relaxed, casual setting designed to make diners feel well at home.
The venue takes its name from its ten-metre-long bar, made up of 96 concrete besser blocks — a building material that was popular with Italian Australians in the 1960s and 1970s.
Head chef Sandro di Maroni, formerly of A Tavola Darlinghurst, will serve up dinner seven nights a week, along with lunches Thursday through Sunday. Standouts on the menu range from small 'single' plates served at the bar, to hearty Italian staples including venison tartare, gnocchi with oxtail and red wine ragu, as well as a variety of pasta, meat and fish dishes.
Also on offer is the '6pm risotto', which you can only order at the designated time. The recipe changes daily, with variations including risotto all Milanese with bone marrow or crab with zucchini.
The drinks menu includes fifty wines sourced from Australia and Italy vineyards, handpicked by A Tavola sommelier Ennio di Marco, as well aseight boutique Italian and Australian wines available on tap. They’re also boasting a pretty intriguing array of cocktails, including the Besser Sour, Breakfast Martini, Sicilian Julep and Besser Aged Negroni.