When one thinks of Finger Wharf in Woolloomooloo, images of oversized sunglasses, Louis Vuitton handbags, martinis, pasture fed marbled wagyu steak and freshly shucked oysters spring to mind. Whilst it’s the address for some of Sydney’s finest restaurants, there is a well-kept secret that comes to life at night, offering Sydneysiders a taste of the high-life without the hefty price tag.
The Larder, originally a pop-up concept by Otto restaurant, now opens its doors every Monday – Saturday evening, with the occasional lunchtime opening over long weekends. Even though the food comes from the same kitchen as Otto, Chef Richard Ptacnik has created a casual Italian affair for diners at The Larder. The menu has been designed to share and linger. Whilst Richard changes the menu to keep it fresh and seasonal, you’ll be guaranteed to always find a mixture of traditional and modern Italian favourites to choose from.
A couple of weeks ago over the October long weekend, The Larder opened for lunch, especially due to the International Navy Fleet Review occurring in Sydney Harbour. As Woolloomooloo is a base for the Australian Navy, there was no better place to soak up all the action. My sister and I eased into lunch with a couple of glasses of chilled rose and a bowl of olives. Finger Wharf is the place for people watching so that’s exactly what we did as we waited for our main to arrive. We had ordered the meatballs in a cherry tomato sauce, roasted chat potatoes and the radicchio, pear, gorgonzola and walnut salad to share. All three dishes complimented each other perfectly. The meatballs were plump and juicy, smothered in a rich yet sweet tomato sauce. The sauce was delicious drizzled over the crispy chat potatoes. The radicchio salad was a favourite – crisp, creamy and zingy.
It’s obvious why Otto has decided to make The Larder a permanent fixture. It’s so popular because not only does it offer patrons the same setting as its neighbours, it delivers good quality food at a reasonable price. What tops it is that it’s BYO wine too ($6pp corkage) which is so rare to find in the city, let alone on Finger Wharf. It’s the ideal place to kick back after work or gather your closest mates for a Saturday night out.
Area 8, 6 Cowper Wharf Rd, Woolloomooloo – 02 9368 7488