Elva – Getting Back to My Roots
With my pasty white skin, green eyes and pitiful lack of style, you would never pick it, but the truth is I’ve actually got a fair bit of Italian blood flowing through my veins. Given my roots, I just had to check out the latest instalment to Bondi Road’s growing food hub, Elva Osteria.
Elva is a joint project between Bondi local and restaurateur Nick Gilbert and Michael Stevens from Baccomatto Osteria. The pair bonded over their penchant for classic Italian food and both Italian and Australian wines. Their shared love has gifted us with Elva Osteria, an Italian restaurant and wine bar that brings an inner city feel to the Bondi strip.
After a quiet few years, Bondi Road is now experiencing something of a renaissance. The renovation of The Royal and the recent openings of Carbòn Mexican Wood Fire, Ode and Elva have complemented pre-existing establishments like Sefa Kitchen and Stuffed Beaver to form a vibrant hub of quality restaurants and bars.
Elva pays homage to the history of the site, getting its name from Elva Tesoriero, who owned the building in the ‘50s. Elva still lives down the road from the building that once housed her family’s fruit shop and she is apparently delighted to be the osteria’s namesake.
The building’s interior has been transformed with a leather banquette, marble bar, waxed walls and feature lighting to provide a relaxed yet elegant atmosphere. An open kitchen showcases Elva’s team of chefs doing their thing and the chef’s table allows the guests seated around it to soak up the buzz of the kitchen.
Co-owner Nick Gilbert owns Vacanza Pizzeria in Charing Cross and Surry Hills, but surprisingly you won’t find any pizzas on Elva’s menu. Instead you’ll find authentic handmade pasta – used to make my spaghetti frutti di mare with prawns, calamari and vongole mushrooms, and a rigatoni con ragu with veal and porcini mushrooms. These dishes were preceded by a number of items from the extensive antipasti section. My standouts here were the beef carpaccio with rich gorgonzola dolce and a mouth-watering baked cacciotella with oregano and chestnut honey.
Elva also have a salumeria menu, perfect for an afternoon graze. Take a seat at the marble bar and enjoy a selection of formaggi and salumi with an Aperol Spritz in hand. On the dessert menu you will find classics like the tiramisu, a panna cotta with summer fruits, and of course a selection of sorbet and gelato. It goes without saying that there is plenty of Italian vino on hand to wash it all down.
Elva will soon be adding an old school Italian Deli so that locals can pop in and buy a range of products including fresh slices of the same divine salumi and formaggi served in the osteria. The team also love to host private lunches and you can book out the entire venue to celebrate with friends over an Italian feast.
Regrettably, I am yet to visit my grandfather’s birth country, and the current status of my bank account suggests it may be some time before I get the opportunity. Until then, I’m quite happy visiting Elva whenever I need my Italiano fix and I recommend you do the same.
Address 277 Bondi Road, Bondi
Phone 02 9130 1501
Open Tues-Fri 6pm-late and Sat-Sun 5pm-late
Prices $29 for pasta, $20-$30 for antipasti and $14 for dessert
Cards Master, Visa, Amex