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Former Sagra Owner Nigel Ward Is Opening Passeggiata, an Ambitious New Italian Restaurant in Waverley

Named after the Italian tradition of passeggiata, the renovated building will boast three distinct culinary spaces.
By Ben Hansen
August 26, 2021
By Ben Hansen
August 26, 2021

Waverley residents — here's something to celebrate: an ambitious Italian restaurant spearheaded by Nigel Ward is set to arrive on Bronte Road within the next six months. The accomplished Sydney chef (ex-Uccello, ex-10 William St) and former owner of Darlinghurst favourite, Sagra, has found a home for his new project in Charing Cross, Australia's second-oldest shopping strip.

Named after the Italian tradition of passeggiata, the renovated building will boast three distinct culinary spaces. Passeggiata is a type of unhurried, leisurely stroll you take with your family after a hearty meal.

"After a big long lunch, everyone puts on their suits and their Sunday best and they all go out to the town square and walk around real slow, go have some gelato, or have a little drink somewhere," Ward explains. "Nobody's in too much of a hurry, the intention is to ... slow down and enjoy the little qualities of life."

It's this kind of relaxed energy that he wants to emulate in his new venture. "I hope when people come here [that] they're not coming with an out time. They just want to come and enjoy themselves and take their time, get a nice bottle of wine [and] eat lots of food," he says. 

Passeggiata will serve hyper-seasonal Italian dishes, local and international wines made from 100 percent Italian varietals and weekly set menus. Downstairs will serve as the main dining room — a 40-seat venue with comfortable chairs, music that isn't too loud and a menu that champions a progressive spin on classic Italian dishes.

Upstairs will play host to a smaller 30-seat dining room where Ward and his team will host four-course dinners for groups on Friday and Saturday night. The plan spans a continually rotating set menu priced at around $75 per person. "It might change halfway through the night," he says. "You can just go with a big group of people, order some nice wine and leave it over to us."

The final element of Passeggiata is a 24-seat outdoor area open for long Tuscan-style Sunday lunches. The sunny courtyard will boast its own herb and veggie garden, and Ward is in the process of building an in-house bakery in the space.

Drawing on the history of the building and taking inspiration from 1970s Rome, the interior of Passeggiata will be designed by Tim Leveson. Towering archways complemented by exposed brickwork, clean brass, muted oak and a moody mustard colour palette is expected to feature throughout the venue. An old pressed metal ceiling and fireplace is also promised.

The building is still under construction but Ward is aiming to open all three areas simultaneously, depending on Sydney's venue restrictions and the availability of hospitality workers come summer. To keep up with its progress you can follow along at Passeggiata's Instagram account.

"I'm building the restaurant I want to go to," Ward says. "This is it for me. I've bought the building, I want to be here for 30 years. I want this to be the Lucio's of the 21st century."

Nigel Ward's Passeggiata is set to open at 318 Bronte Road, Waverley between late 2021 and early 2022.

Published on August 26, 2021 by Ben Hansen
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