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FOOD & DRINK

Lola's Level 1

Oysters, martinis and Mediterranean meals star at this 94-seat venue from two Sydney hospitality mainstays.
By Ben Hansen
November 02, 2021
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By Ben Hansen
November 02, 2021
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A new 94-seat bar and restaurant serving Mediterranean eats and oysters with ocean views has officially opened its doors in Bondi. Lola's Level 1 is the venture of Sydney hospitality mainstays Marco Ambrosino (Fratelli Paradiso) and Manny Spinola, and will serve a mix of small and large plates along with a cocktail and wine-heavy drinks menu, breathing delicious new life into Bondi's Pacific Building.

Ambrosino and Spinola have pulled together an all-star team for Lola's. Running the pass is head chef Paula Pantano, who has previously played a key role in the kitchen at five-star hotels like Crown Sydney and the Mandarin Oriental Group. To quench your thirst, Louis West (Bentley Restaurant Group) and Mon Ditbunjong (Dear Sainte Eloise and Ragazzi) are joining forces as sommeliers.

"Lola's is all about fun and we've assembled one of the best restaurant teams in Sydney that will be able to deliver that," Ambrosino says. "We want Lola's to be approachable – a place where you can drop in for a drink and some oysters; a place for a dinner with the family; or a long lunch on the balcony overlooking Bondi."

Oysters ($6.50) are a big focus of the menu, with three types on the menu (natural, with vermouth granita or with Lola's mignonette), all shucked at the bar. If you're dropping in for a drink and you're looking for a snack, you'll find citrus and basil burrata ($21), pan tumaca ($15), and Pioik sourdough with 25-year aged balsamic vinegar and Alro Evoo olive oil ($7.50) on the small plates menu.

For more filling feeds, spiced lamb skewers ($15 each) and peri-peri chicken ($34) prepared on the plancha grill can satisfy your carnivorous yearnings, and large plates like saffron socarrat ($30) and lasagnetta topped with osso buco ragu and gremolata ($29).

A tightly edited wine list mixes artisanal producers from warmer European climates alongside local Australian drops. And those looking for something stronger can hit the cocktail list which features two type of martinis ($23) and twists on the Bloody Mary and Rosita ($22).

Lola's location in the Pacific Building means balcony-seating promises a panoramic view of Bondi Beach and the surrounding park. So, come summer, its sure to be a hit with beachgoers for a pre- or post-swim drink (and then some).

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