Walk into Fabbrica and you’re confronted with a bevy of things you’ll want to eat and drink. On your right, around 70 types of wine – mainly Italian styles such as sangiovese and nebbiolo from organic producers, with some minimum-intervention drops for good measure – line the shelves. Straight ahead, a stone benchtop is laid out with seasonal produce (at the moment there’s white asparagus, broad beans and globe artichokes), loaves of sourdough, baguettes and focaccia.
Just past the counter a glass case exhibits eight types of pasta (a selection that changes daily and is sold by the gram) and beyond that, a window shows off chefs breaking down whole lambs and pigs, rolling pasta and baking sourdough in the kitchen. To the left, a coffee machine pumps out morning espresso, a cheese cabinet displays pecorino and a huge wheel of Reggiano, and a selection of sauce packs and cured meats spark inspiration for your next dinner party.
Fabbrica – which translates to “factory” from Italian – is the new deli, pasta shop, sandwich joint and wine store from Matt Swieboda and Nathaniel Hatfield (Love, Tilly Devine, Dear Sainte Eloise and Ragazzi), Ragazzi chef Scott McComas-Williams (ex-Movida) and Cameron Birt (Fino Foods). The kitchen is headed up by ex-Monopole chef Toby Stansfield, with McComas-Williams working as executive chef for both Fabbrica and Ragazzi. The takeaway-focused venue opened last week in a subterranean space below the Acne Studios store on King Street in the CBD. And it’s quite a change in direction for its owners.
“It’s a lighter offering than what we do at Ragazzi,” Swieboda tells Broadsheet. “When [people] come here for snacks in the evening, they’re coming into a delicatessen, they’re not coming into a restaurant or a bar. We’re not trying to be what we’re doing in the other wine bars, it’s somewhere for aperitivo drinks.”
To that end, there’s a short list of aperitif-style cocktails, grappa, beer (including drops from Marrickville’s Wildflower) and a few different bottles of wine which will be poured by the glass each night for those who manage to nab one of the five tables in the courtyard. “As we get a bit more comfortable we’ll be opening things on the fly,” says Swieboda.
In the mornings visit for coffee and house-made bombolone (Italian doughnuts). A limited number of sandwiches are available after midday to eat in or takeaway. A couple of varieties will be chosen each day – when Broadsheet talks to the team, it’s pork cottoletta on focaccia with cabbage and mayo, and a mortadella, pickle and salted chilli sanga – with just 20 to 30 of each meaning getting in early is a good trick. A baked pasta will also be available each day – think lasagne or cannelloni.
While Fabbrica is still fleshing out its take-home-and-cook options, there’s already a lot going on. In addition to the seasonal produce there’s a solid selection of dried goods such as tinned tomatoes, own-brand olive oils, capers and sauces. A range of smallgoods (guanciale, pancetta) is there to take home, as is a selection of Italian cheese for both the table and to shave over pasta.
The eight pasta shapes – “some of them long, some of them short, some of them extruded, some of them hand-rolled, egg dough, semolina dough, a rye dough,” says McComas-Williams – are put on each day and sold by the gram, with corresponding seasonal sauces (currently cacio e pepe and sausage ragu are on the menu) sold to match. There’s even an entire extruder dedicated to gluten-free pasta.
True to its name, Fabbrica also acts as a sort of factory for the team’s other diners and wine bars. “It’s so hard to butcher a whole pig in Ragazzi,” says McComas-Williams. “Here we can get a couple of whole pigs a week and break them down, take what we want for Ragazzi, and send stuff to Love, Tilly and Dear Sainte Eloise.”
161 King Street, Sydney
Mon to Wed 10am–8pm
Thu & Fri 10am–10pm