Bottega Coco: A Wine Lover’s Dream In Barangaroo

Delizia Al Limone dessert at Bottega Coco
The very pretty Delizia al limone dessert at Bottega Coco.

In 1979, there was a big eruption of Sicily’s Mount Etna volcano and the lava flow came within 800 metres of some very old vines in the Russo vineyards. So, what to do? You build a bridge over the lava flow and you get on with the business of making wine.

Girolamo Russo made just 2,200 bottles of Feudo di Mezzo and only a handful have made their way to Australia. Which makes it all the more surprising that this stunning Mount Etna red was one of the wines up for tasting at Bottega Coco. What a treat!

Bottega Coco is a stylish Italian restaurant, patisserie and wine cellar in Barangaroo, Sydney, and its monthly wine tasting dinners — along with an enticing menu of expertly prepared dishes — are a key drawcard.

The tastings, held in an upstairs private dining room, have an intimate ambience with 12 people seated around a square table. Each event features a different wine appellation chosen by cellar manager Jon Osbeiston and sommelier Grant Van Every, who you might remember as a presenter on the SBS Television series, The Wine Lover’s Guide to Australia.

Bottega Cooc, in Sydney's Barangaroo, has a cosmopolitan ambience.
Bottega Coco, a stylish Italian restaurant in Sydney’s Barangaroo.

The first wine tasting dinner, in March, was a discovery of Chianti. April’s event, which I had the pleasure of attending, featured red wines from Sicily’s Mount Etna. You can read more about the wines we tasted in this separate post, but in short, the evening was informative, enlightening, a taste sensation and jolly good fun, all rolled into one.

Jon Osbeiston led the tasting and introduced us to eight remarkable wines. Two of them were labels selling in Australia for around $170, one was just under $140, and the rest were upwards of $60 – all of which makes the tasting and main course dinner good value at $149.

Bottega Coco opened in July 2023 in the space formerly occupied by Bel & Brio. It has a cosmopolitan ambience — casual enough to enjoy woodfired pizzas in but sophisticated enough to be the backdrop for beautiful wines and seasonal dishes that respect Italy’s rich culinary heritage.

The restaurant is flanked on one side by an impressive cellar where you can buy fine wines and gifts. On the other side is sister venue, Cardea, a glamorous bar with elegant décor, intimate booths and old-world charm. It’s the perfect spot to enjoy a cocktail or pre-dinner drink.

Burrata with heirloom tomatoes, garnished with greens from the restaurant's vertical garden.
Burrata with heirloom tomatoes, garnished with greens from the restaurant’s vertical garden.

Tuscan-born executive chef Dario Nencioni came to Australia in 2016 and was executive chef at two-hatted Mosman restaurant, Chiosco by Ormeggio, before landing at Bottega Coco.

His driving philosophy is to weave the essence of Italian cuisine – simplicity and respect for ingredients – with Australia’s exceptional produce. He is committed to using ingredients sourced ethically and sustainably, something which is made easier through the restaurant’s partnership with Greenspace.

Bottega Coco chef Dario Nencioni.
Tuscan-born executive chef Dario Nencioni.

The Greenspace model is to transform underutilised urban spaces into thriving ‘farms’ that use significantly less water and space compared with traditional farming methods. Bottega Coco draws on its Greenspace vertical farm for microgreens, herbs, lettuces and edible flowers, and we saw plenty of evidence of that in the dishes we sampled from the restaurant’s autumn menu.

Fresh microgreens were sprinkled around the beautifully cooked Blackmore Wagyu tri-tip (marble score 9) and on top of the risotto with spanner crab and confit tomato. Small basil leaves garnished the burrata, while dainty flower petals and flecks of gold leaf adorned the delizia al limone dessert.

There are so many dishes we want to come back for, which we didn’t get a chance to try: the vegan tartare which looks so pretty, the kingfish crudo with cucumber and mint water, the pappardelle with veal ragu … not to mention the pizzas. The pizza topped with buffalo mozzarella cream, eggplant chips, and tuna carpaccio — a nod to the seaside towns of Italy – sounds extraordinary.

Vegan tartare: a dish to come back for.
Vegan tartare: a dish to come back for.

The restaurant holds pizza and pasta making classes which end with a shared banquet, perfect for groups of friends, and there are also cocktail-making classes.

Bottega Coco is also a great place to enjoy High Tea. The patisserie offers spectacular birthday cakes and other creations such as its eye-catching Opera House Cake which pays homage to Sydney’s icon building with a spectacular coconut sponge on wattle seed biscuit base.

Bottega Coco’s pastry chef is the delightful Valentina Mora, who introduced herself to us and told us that her Italian surname means blackberry 😊  She is steadily revising the menu to showcase authentic Italian desserts, from the classic tiramisu to delicious cannoli.

With such a well-stocked cellar, Bottega Coco offers the perfect wine pairing for any occasion. Since we were dining after tasting 8 Sicilian reds, we were keen to try a glass of Carricante, an indigenous Sicilian white variety grown on the slopes of Mount Etna. It was bright and lively, quite minerally and acidic, with citrus and peach notes. A lovely pairing for the burrata and the spanner crab risotto.

Acquerello Risotto: with spanner crab, confit tomato, milk protein crumble, and lemon.
Acquerello Risotto: with spanner crab, confit tomato, milk protein crumble, and lemon.

If you go:

Bottega Coco
Ground Floor, Tower 3, 300 Barangaroo Avenue
Barangaroo, Sydney NSW

Wine Tasting Dinners are held on the 3rd Wednesday of the month.

With thanks to Bottega Coco for generously hosting us for dinner and the wine tasting. You can read our post here on the Sicilian wines we tasted.

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