You've probably heard of Salt Meats Cheese — the hospitality group has blown up in recent years, and now it has six venues across New South Wales and Queensland. The latest SMC to join the clan is a flagship store inside Circular Quay's Gateway dining precinct.
This new iteration has taken over what was briefly Popina Kitchen, which was a collaboration between the group and North Bondi's Shuk. Taking ownership of the space, the Salt Meats Cheese group have changed things up a bit for the new flagship — it's a little different to its siblings. For one, with room for 110 guests, it's huge. And secondly, it will be the first SMC with a menu headed up by Massimo Mele.
Inspired by Mele's childhood memories of Italy, the venue serves classic Italian fare with a couple of modern twists. Think deep-fried pizza with house dip, cavatelli with mushrooms and kale pesto, and a dish of tagliolini with raw tuna, rocket, garlic, chilli and capers.
Each pizza at the new venue is made with a thinner Roman-style base than the Napoli-style bases SMC is known for. There are eight varieties to work through, from a classic margherita to a pork and fennel sausage pizza with charred broccolini and fontina cheese. To match the fare, Adriano Risi has curated a wine list of local and Italian varietals, with big influence from his home state of Tasmania. There's also a daily aperitivo hour from 5–6.30pm where you can grab $10 cocktails and $5 wine and beer, with complimentary bar snacks to top it all off.
The Circular Quay outpost is open for business and a rooftop bar is set to join the offerings soon. The changes signpost a shift in direction for the group, which could be a good thing — we didn't think the Broadway store quite reflected the group's standards when we visited last year.
Salt Meats Cheese Sydney is located on Level 2 of the Gateway building at Circular Quay and is open Monday through Friday for lunch and dinner and Saturday for dinner.