In the buzzing village of Lane Cove on Sydney’s North Shore you’ll find Little Red Robin Restaurant & Wine Bar.
Tucked away on Birdwood Lane, this hole-in-the-wall wine bar and restaurant offers sophisticated dining and a chic bar experience, all brought to life by a stellar team.
Little Red Robin Restaurant is an intimate bar and dining destination, boasting a carefully considered menu of sharing plates, served on eclectic and handmade stoneware, accompanied by a 100+ strong wine list exclusively from Europe and the Mediterranean.
Owners Alessandro Nelli and Michelle Warren started working on the vision 4 years ago and always imagined Little Red Robin as taking inspiration from the Mediterranean, with a focus on reimagining classic recipes with a contemporary twist, and the wine list was always going to be purely European to bring a point of difference and take customers out of their wine comfort zone.
The stellar team at Little Red Robin are well-oiled professionals for their young ages, having a wide range of experience from leading award-winning establishments both in Australia and abroad.
At the helm of the kitchen is Head Chef Alberto Ranalli, whose résumé lists experience at est. Sydney and establishments in London and Bologna. Sous Chef Douglas Alvarenga gained his stripes from Flavio Federico in Brazil, then at Gelato Messina Creative Department and, more recently, the acclaimed Porteño. As CDP, Francesco Lunardi developed his key skills at Quay and The Bridge Room.
Running the bar and designing cocktails is a breeze for Kyal Whitehorn. Kyal has gained a solid foundation in bar management at Chatswood Golf Club and has recently completed more studies in mixology. Alessandro Nelli, as owner and manager, started as a runner over 20 years ago and worked up to managing the award-winning institution Lucio’s in Paddington, and learnt his fine dining, polished service style from Lucio Galletto himself, before taking the plunge into restaurant ownership.
“These up-and-coming young professionals took a leap of faith to join Little Red Robin,” says Alessandro. “They saw a vision they liked and ‘had a feeling’ about the establishment where they felt they could contribute in a creative way and be a part of something unique.”
The menu offers dishes with delicate flavours, where the produce has the opportunity to shine and the suppliers, who are carefully chosen, are leaders in their own game. The menu is built around a sharing concept, where diners can try different dishes and flavours. The wine selection is all about allowing patrons to discover something new and unique, with some gems from Turkey, Greece, Austria and more featuring on the list.
For owner and manager Nelli, who grew up on a vineyard and olive grove in Tuscany, the restaurant embodies important memories from his home in Italy. “Our fondest memories are of little red robins singing and darting among the vines in the warm Tuscan afternoon sun, when days were filled with delicious food, luscious wine and laughter,” he says. “This is how we came up with the name”.
When looking for a site, Nelli and Warren identified Lane Cove as an upcoming foodie area with lots of potential and loved the village atmosphere. The restaurant sits opposite the future development the Rosenthal Project (The Canopy Lane Cove), due for completion in 2020.
It’s easy to feel transported somewhere like Melbourne or even New York with the establishment’s edgy, sophisticated interiors. With a focus on textures, rich fabrics and strong contemporary colours, matching stoneware (with the main sharing plate exclusively designed and handmade by Ion Fukazawa of Mukumono, who also collaborated with the likes of ester and sixpenny), and the stunning full copper bar as the pièce de résistance of the space, diners can either dine at the bar or in the intimate dining room.
Little Red Robin Restaurant & Wine Bar
Address: 4/85 Longueville Road, Entry Via Birdwood Lane, Lane Cove NSW 2066
Hours: Tuesday: 4pm–midnight; Wednesday to Saturday: 12noon–midnight
Reservations: www.littleredrobin.net.au or phone (02) 9418 9529.