As you might expect of such an epic space, Bel & Brio serves more than one purpose — in fact, there are five areas altogether. So you can swing by for a coffee, wine or a full-blown meal, and, while you're at it, take care of your entire weekly shop in the marketplace.
In the 240-seater bar and dining space, you'll find European-inspired dishes designed for sharing. There's not one, but two, executive chefs on board: Sicilian-born Andrea Assenza who's worked all over Europe and Asia, and Vanessa Martin, former owner-chef at the now closed hatted Italian restaurant Il Piave. Grab a mate or two and tuck into slow-cooked lamb ragu with lemon ricotta ravioli or crispy pork belly with braised fennel orange salad.
The cocktail menu is the work of mixologist James Snelgrove, who you might have met previously at Bentley, Ms.G's or Button. Meanwhile, wine guru Jon Osbeiston is taking care of the 400-strong wine list. He's also behind Bel & Brio's extraordinary cellar, where you can explore more than 2000 drops from Australia, Italy and France.
If you don't have time to hang around for a meal, you can always stick to a caffeine hit in Coffee & Co, which is open from 7am. The beans are roasted by Will & Co and turned into excellent coffees by ex-Baker Bros folk Alessandro and Gianni Panetta. There's also a brekkie menu and pastries, baked daily in Bel & Brio's kitchen in Lane Cove.
Alternatively, go for a spot of takeaway. The eatery sells a slew of ready-to-eat meals, including rotisserie meats, paninis, traditional pizza al taglio (the ones cooked as a rectangle) and fresh pastas. And, in the marketplace, you'll find loads of high-quality groceries, from pasture-raised eggs and cold-pressed juices to fresh bread and flowers.
In-demand designers DS17 — who've recently done The Resident and the brand new Nour — took care of the interior, drawing inspiration from Europe's legendary food halls. Expect a classic, elegant look, combining timber, brass, copper, polished concrete and marble.
Bel & Brio is now open at 300 Barangaroo Avenue, Barangaroo. For more info, visit belandbrio.com.au.