Secret Sydney: Buffalo Dining Club

Some are well-known, others are truly hidden away and known only by the initiated, and there are those in plain sight yet missed by most. ‘Secret Sydney’ reveals some of my favourite Sydney spots from cafés to restaurants, bars, parks and cultural experiences.

The Buffalo Dining Club is a unique piece of authentic Italy dropped in the middle of Sydney’s urban chic, in Darlinghurst, about four years ago.

To say the Buffalo Dining Club is shoebox sized, would be generous. The entire place can seat about 40 at the most, but it has atmosphere by the bucketloads.

As the name suggests, the Buffalo Dining Club is dedicated to that most royal of cheeses, the freshest buffalo mozzarella on this side of the equator, imported from Campania in Italy.

Buffalo mozzarella is also known as ‘the queen of the Mediterranean cuisine’, ‘white gold’ or ‘the pearl of the table’. It is not made to preserve milk, but to celebrate the freshness and flavour of milk.

It should be consumed as soon as possible after it’s made, preferably the same day. It is white, creamy, elastic and stringy. As you cut into it, it should ooze milk. It is sweet like milk, with the slightest hint of sourness on the palate.

The other signature dish you must try is Cacio e Pepe, that fabulous and deceptively simple Roman pasta dish – spaghetti tossed with olive oil, pecorino cheese and pepper. The way the dish is served from a hollowed-out wheel of cheese is practically performance art …

As a slight variation the Buffalo Dining Club adds a hint of continental parsley to this dish. Unless you fly off to Roma to experience Cacio e Pepe in its hometown, preferably at Roscioli or Antica Pesa, in Sydney the Buffalo Dining Club is a good bet.

Overall, the system is simple.

To start, you pick one of four available cheeses with any two of the sides listed on the blackboard. Then you can add prosciutto in 30, 60 or 90 gram portions, or some grilled mortadella, salumi or beef carpaccio.

The second course is pasta. The choices are again on the blackboard, and will usually offer three choices, including the Cacio e Pepe and a buffalo ricotta gnocchi.

There is a lovely choice of international wines to enhance the experience, from Italy, France, Spain, Portugal, South America and closer to home.

The team behind the Buffalo Dining Club has another food adventure, the Chester White Diner in nearby Potts Point. Chester White Offers simple, delicious dishes built around cured meats, fish, pickles and pasta.

Buffalo Dining Club

116 Surrey Street
Darlinghurst NSW 2010

Open: Wednesday to Saturday, midday to 11pm

Phone: + 61 (0)2 9332 4052


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