In Italy, rather than having a national dish (spaghetti and pizza hold the title to those outside of Italy), each region has a speciality. You'll find an abundance of the particular product served in the osterias and tavola caldas of the region (only the locals know where to find the very best) and it would be a crime not to order the dish.
For obvious reasons, this concept doesn't really exist in Sydney; instead we have a wonderful diversity of cuisines. However, the Italians certainly know what they are doing – eating only the most simple, fresh ingredients, served in a fairly untouched way. The Buffalo Dining Club is doing exactly this; it is a little piece of Campania (a region in southern Italy) dropped into the backstreets of Darlinghurst. As you can probably guess, buffalo mozzarella and buscata (a mozzarella that is mixed with cream in the middle, tied up like a money bag and much softer than the buffalo variety). For $17, you order one of the cheeses and two vegetable sides (each one is $5 after that). With options like Balsamic Carrots, Portobello Mushrooms, Chargrilled Broccolini and Marinated Fennel it is a seriously tough choice. Order it with the Prosciutto or San Daniele (bought by the gram) and you have, in my eyes, a perfect meal. With crunchy little breadsticks, I could eat this meal three times over, every night of the week.
If you're not quite full yet, there is pasta of the day, a burger or salad. Wash it down with a Trumer pils or a glass of wine (stick with the Trumer, apparently the wine list is a work-in-progress but it is expensive and not very inventive, or Italian for that matter) and you'll be patting your belly and whispering 'mamma mia.'
It would have been one of the best food experiences I'd had in a long time but unfortunately the acoustics upstairs aren't great and the service is a little lacking. The good news is, these things are ironed out over time so don't hesitate, get in there before everyone finds out about and the lines stretch around the corner to Una's.
If you're not a huge fan of Italian food, this may not be the restaurant for you, as the menu is small and simple. If the above appeals, be wiping away tears of joy when you visit this ingenious new venture by the Sticky boys.
Images: Kimberley Low.