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Canberra Today 3°/8° | Saturday, April 13, 2024 | Digital Edition | Crossword & Sudoku

Traditional Italian with a modern flair

Zucchini flower fritti… with creamy, lemon-coloured saffron mayo. Photo: Wendy Johnson

“Located in the Sydney Building, Bada Bing is relatively new on the Canberra dining scene and it’s smashing it,” says dining reviewer WENDY JOHNSON.

It’s worth heading to Bada Bing Dining Club in Civic just to indulge in the zucchini flower fritti with beautifully creamy, lemon-coloured saffron mayo ($20). 

Wendy Johnson.

They are addicting. Super light. Super crunchy. Super salty and a sensational way to start a meal (my taste buds told me so). 

Located in the Sydney Building, Bada Bing is relatively new on the Canberra dining scene and it’s smashing it. The décor, with touches of retro, is warm and cosy by night, but bright and airy by day. The overall feel is traditional Italian but the dishes, created under head chef Brian Kelly, present with modern flair.

The menu kickstarts with antipasti and then moves to pizza, pasta, il secondi and contorni. Meals are designed to share, which is precisely what we did. 

We fell in love with the crudo ($25), which looked as stunning as it tasted. Carefully separated sections of bright orange mandarin, celebrating all things citrus, were set among square pieces of raw tuna and scallop. Scattered on top, for more colour and contrasting taste, were tiny pieces of eschalot ($25).

Our magnificent main ($45) was handmade tortellini, stuffed with prawns and scallops. This impressive dish featured cavolo nero and a light rose sauce. Nestled into the crevices of some tortellini was roe, which popped with flavour. The pasta was a perfect thickness and perfectly cooked – not too soft but rather firm and slightly chewy.

To cut through we ordered the bitter leaf salad ($15) with pine nuts, walnuts and burnt mandarin. Vibrant in colour, and showcasing pieces of white-veined red radicchio, the salad was zippy. It’s wonderful how a few ingredients tossed in a simple but refined dressing can make such a statement, although we agreed the salad would have benefited from a bit more dressing. 

Six pizzas are on the menu, which we’ll road test next visit, ranging from $26 to $32. Pastas include an intriguing-sounding risotto with Balmain bug ($38) and a hearty lamb ragu ($36). Mains include a veal parmigiana ($45), swordfish cutlet ($38) and a one-kilogram Bistecca (45 minutes needed to cook the steak just so, $120).

We felt full but not overly so and didn’t want to overstep the mark with dessert. The line-up, however, includes pistachio gelato with cherry liqueur ($20), lemon and ricotta cannoli ($12) and tiramisu ($18).

Bada Bing’s wine list has been thoughtfully curated by sommelier Brady Scholes and staff are attentive (some still learning the ropes on our visit, but proud to be doing so).

We dined at a table near the window. Bada Bing has plenty of bench seating. An open bar area is on the second level (when it’s super busy the noise bounces about a fair bit).

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Wendy Johnson

Wendy Johnson

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