Fonzarelli’s Perfectamundo vibes and Yowsah menu
Despite having the biggest neon-light sign Surry Hills has ever seen out the front of this restaurant, Fonzarelli’s is yet to be granted the attention they deserve. Amongst popular pubs and trendy cafes, Sydney restauranteur Eddie Venneri opened this thumbs-up eatery last November. Having previously worked with the Swillhouse Group at Frankie’s Pizza, Venneri knows what it takes to bring a theme to life in a successful venue.
Greeted by friendly bartenders Nicole and Alex, I find myself transported back to 1950s America as I take a seat next to the pinball machine and jukebox. Awaiting for my forever late date, I glance over their cocktail list. My eyes quickly land on the “Cool as Fonz” cocktail ($27) designed to share between two. It’s one of their best-selling cocktails, a refreshing blend of vodka, homemade lemon and lime sorbet, Prosecco and fresh citrus. Even though “Cool as Fonz” is made to share, I end up drinking this bad boy alone whilst listening to Elvis Presley in the front seat, next to the bar. If my friend doesn’t arrive soon this is going to look desperate.
Set over two levels, Fonzarelli’s features a full bar and kitchen. What you’ll find is that each level has it’s own character and vibe. Boasting ‘Fat City’ meals (fifties slang for a great place), Head Chef Fernando Rodriguez of Barbecue Buddies (a BBQ hire and catering company) recommends house favourite dishes the Al Delvecchio ($14) and Ralph Malph ($12). The Al Delvecchio is the name for their Jalapeno poppers, filled with four different types of oozy cheese and herbs. Crumbed and served with a spicy Napolitana sauce, this definitively gets ticked as a golden starter. The Ralph Malph is best described as crispy buttermilk chicken pieces, served with a Southern style coating, fresh coriander, lime and chilli mayonnaise. Despite my chronic dislike of coriander, I find myself eating these Ralph’s with no stopping. Both work well as starters, kicking my tastebuds into gear before the mains arrive.
Getting ready to bust out my solo jitterbug, in walks my rather hot flushed date. Looking in dire need of a drink, we quickly order the Buddy Holly ($19) and a classic Tommy’s Margarita. Another house cocktail with a twist on a classic; this Buddy is an Amaretto sour served with fresh orange juice in a vintage coup.
We’re excited to see that Fonzarelli keeps its promise of being an all American New York Estate style themed restaurant, as we competitively shout out what we would like to order from the menu. Landing on Ashley Pfister Foot Long ($16) and Pinky Tuscader ($24), we are more than excited to demolish our mains. Self-declared as Sydney’s biggest, the Ashley Pfister Foot Long is a smoked pork frankfurter hot dog, served with horseradish mustard, Polish sauerkraut and American cheddar blend.
After wiping our faces dry of excess mayo and hot sauce, we venture downstairs to see what all the fuss is about. Exposed brick, plush leather booths, red velvet drapes and an industrial bar awaits us, as we are met with the downstairs funk. This intimate bar would be perfect for a packed dance floor but on this occasion it’s calm and quiet. It’s a Wednesday night, so maybe that’s why it’s so bare.
Fonzarelli’s is a heartfelt venue with a through-and-through theme, hitting all the details right down to the bathroom doorknobs. It comes as the perfect spot for a few drinks and a bite or maybe even a date night. Schedule the latter one for when you are comfortable enough to show your date your bottomless pit stomach. Although we have all of downstairs to ourselves on this particular rainy evening, we can see why this venue does not have a waiting list at the door.
Goodbye grey sky, hello blue,
there’s nothing can hold me when I hold you.
feels so right you can’t be wrong,
rockin’ and rollin’ all week long.
Shop 1, 65-67 Foveaux Street, Surry Hills NSW 2010
Open H=hours: Wed – Sun, 5pm – midnight.