Berta is the Surry Hills Laneway restaurant you need to find.
Sneaky lane-way restaurants, unassuming doors and secret pin codes to enter…no we’re not in Melbourne. Sydney is changing. Following the recent openings from the likes of Sticky Bar, LL Wine & Dine and Grasshopper Bar come Berta, the much-anticipated little sister of Italian trattoria Vini in Surry Hills.
Half the fun of Berta is actually finding this place. That is of course unless it’s five degrees and pouring rain as was the case on the night we ventured out. But don’t let a $5 taxi ride from Central deter you, this restaurant is centrally located.
Walking up Alberta St, mind you don’t miss the entrance to Berta and accidentally ring the doorbell of the apartments next door (trust me, this is awkward for all parties).
Polished concrete floors lead the way to a sleek dining space. Large glass windows stand between diners and a well-lit laneway. It almost looks like an installation that’s been constructed just for our viewing pleasure. You’ll find the menu and wine list on large chalkboards that remind me of Fratelli Paradiso.
We start the night with Negronis while we wait for our third dining companion and start perusing the wine list. We’re spoilt for choice and opt for a bottle of Montepulianco 08 and waste no time drinking it.
Always a fan of sharing dishes, Berta is a great place to sample lots of small dishes. We order the grissini and olives ($8) and chickpea and fried cauliflower ($12) to start. The olives are warm and the chickpea and cauliflower dish is deliciously light.
We then move on to the cuttlefish zucchini preserved lemon ($9) which none of us particularly enjoy, the textures are a bit too squirmy. The scallop’s sugna breadcrumbs ($13.50) are delicious but small and we regret only ordering one each. Our favourite dish of the evening is the polenta mushrooms taleggio ($16). Wow!! Delicious, it’s a must try.
We have Formaggi ($30) to finish, an assortment of delicious cheeses, quince paste, honey and pears. The servings are generous and we awkwardly bump knives over the last piece.
Just as we thought we couldn’t fit another bite in our waitress suggests dessert. Oh go on then! We order the tart ($12) and 3 glasses of dessert wine, the perfect way to end our night.
Berta is located centrally in the middle for Surry Hills, Darlinghurst and the CBD. I’d be happy for a gent to take me there on a date or as a place to catch up with a small intimate group of girlfriends (no more that 4, it gets crowded inside). The dishes are reasonably priced but it’s the wine that will impact the bill and make it an expensive mid week dinner.
You can’t book at Berta and like any hidden gem the word is quickly spreading. Arrive after 8pm any night of the week and you will be waiting, a sign of a great restaurant.
17-19 Alberta St, Sydney 2000
02 9264 6133
Open Mon-Sat 5pm-late