Adding to an impressive laundry list of achievements — including the recent success of their first joint venture, Duo — hospitality maestros (and husband and wife) Sarah and Jordan Macdonald are bringing an impressive new eatery, Osteria Uno, to Birkenhead.
Those residing on the North Shore can now add this delightful Italian spot to their regular dining rotation, as Osteria Uno opens its doors on Birkenhead’s main strip this coming Thursday. Here, the focus is on elevated but approachable Italian, and diners can expect to be met with simple, seasonal fare where fresh, handcrafted pasta is the star of the show.
The pair’s take on a traditional Italian osteria is inspired, which isn’t altogether surprising given their past endeavours. Jordan is who we have to thank for CBD haunts Culprit, Lowbrow and Little Culprit, while Sarah can count Chef at Woodpecker Hill, Culprit and Fed Deli and Masterchef contestant as strings in her bow. The pair opened Duo in March last year and have since solidified the neighbourhood spot as one of the city’s best for elevated brunch and dinner in a relaxed setting.
Building on this, quite literally, the team have now taken over the space directly adjacent to Duo, transforming it into a modern Italian eatery. With a vision to create something paired-back but truly unique, Sarah and Jordan engaged Architect Kirsty Mitchell for the fit-out. Having already worked on Duo, Culprit and Lowbrow — she was the obvious choice. Her approach was simple: to marry the building’s existing heritage elements with contemporary touches and create something time-honoured, sophisticated and non-pretentious. She certainly met the brief. Mitchell opted to keep the somewhat scrappy original stained glass windows and brick tile walls (painstakingly stripped back over many attempts by Jordan), adding rich sanguine banquette seating, dark mahogany tables and a heavy marble bench to the space, resulting in a relaxed setting where you can easily imagine yourself spending a leisurely Saturday evening.
In Osteria Uno’s kitchen, distinguished Chef Gleber Chaparro (formerly Lilian, Amano, Depot and Sugar Club) is at the helm, having recently returned from a stint at Michelin-starred Disfrutar in Barcelona. Pasta making is an art Chaparro takes seriously (anyone who has visited Amano during his tenure will concur) and the quality here is unparalleled. Standout iterations include the casarecce with asparagus and cavalo nero pesto and the bucatini with mussels and fermented chilli butter. For those opting to skip the pasta in favour of a selection of smaller bites, there’s whipped fish roe with crisps, beef tartare pizza fritta with pecorino, or raw market fish crudo with Clevedon Buffalo curd and Sicilian olive. To finish on a high note, the macerated strawberries with buffalo yoghurt mousse is a must.
Italian varietals fill Osteria Uno’s wine list, with a few New Zealand and French additions, and the Italian-inspired cocktails are a delight — the limoncello pomelo spritz is the ultimate summer satiation. For beer lovers, you’ll find ice-cold Peroni on tap.
Tuesday to Sunday, 4.30pm until late
40 Hinemoa Street