Maybe Frank opened its second Sydney outpost in Randwick last November, bringing a little piece of Surry Hills to the east. Run by owner and manager Stefano Catino, the restaurant is a slick intermingling of Italian cuisine, specialty cocktails and a crew brimming with Mediterranean warmth and joviality.
The Perouse Road pizza bar has adopted award-winning cocktail whip Andrea Gualdi (who won Australian World Class Bartender of the Year in 2017) as bar manager. Check out the drinks list — it's a collection of the restaurant's most popular requests, traversing sweet and savoury. Begin with the drinkable, perfectly tart Papi Chulo ($21) which combines rum, yuzu and Pedro Ximénez over hand-cut ice. They've also jumped on the skin-contact horse, offering a flavourful 2012 Trebbiano Tuscan natural orange wine ($15) with an apricot finish.
There's a proud antipasti list, with highlights such as the calamari ($16) — lightly battered, firm-but-tender tubes with thinly-sliced veggies on the side — and the polpo ($19) octopus marinated for eight hours in oregano, bay leaves and pepper, and plated with potatoes and celery. While it doesn't have fresh-outta-the-water flavour, you'll like it if you prefer your octopus tender and slow-cooked. Other eye-catching antipasti include the eggplant and mozzarella arancini ($14) and the buffalo burrata with Sicilian caponata($18).
The pizza menu is split into bianche and rossi (cheese-based and tomato sauce-based). It's for good reason: the toppings are carefully selected by pizzaiolo Lucio Cobino to match their foundation. The crown jewel of the bianche is the Alba ($26) with fior di latte, Italian sausage, truffle pecorino, rosemary and cherry tomatoes. If you're after a tomato base, the gamberi e menta ($27) with prawns, zucchini, cherry tomatoes and mint is a hit — the mint adds another layer of flavour to the sweet and slightly salty slices.
If you prefer your pizza folded, look to one of the four calzone (all dripping with melty mozzarella). There's pasta too: the gnocchi ($28) with hazelnut and stracciatella and fettucine ($31) with pistachio pesto and prawn tartare both come recommended.
Maybe Frank is versatile. You can relax in the quiet courtyard surrounded by herbs used in-house, sit at the bar until late drinking natural wine or head in on Tuesdays for all-you-can-eat pizza. And with its award-winning cocktail list, it's more than a run-of-the-mill suburban Italian restaurant.