Oldtown in Newtown, Sydney


Hand-crafted Italian food

I can’t remember how I came across this place, I think I was looking for Italian restaurants feeling slightly nostalgic after my recent trip to Italy. Mother and daughter Ella and Elisa have successfully recreated rustic Italian cooking and brought a little part of regional Italy to the heart of Sydney.

I visited the tiny restaurant on King Street a few weeks ago on a Saturday night. My friend and I walked in off the street without a booking and were seated a table which provided a glimpse into the kitchen. I don’t know if it’s a subconscious thing or not, but I always find myself gravitating towards the kitchen end of a restaurant when I have the choice of where to sit. I like eye-balling each dish as it leaves the kitchen on it’s way to a table. Sometimes I order by asking “what was that dish that just came out? I’ll have that!” which is usually followed by “by the way, what’s in it and can you make it gluten-free?”

The menu described a range of dishes with complex sauces and carefully prepared flavoursome produce. Nothing was simple, but that’s what I love about true Italian cuisine. A great deal of time goes into the ingredients – whether they are prepared and stored for later use in a range of dishes or slowly stewed to create a sensation of flavour.

Beef short ribs with marinated vegetables, roasted broad beans and home made chips

Beef short ribs with marinated vegetables, roasted broad beans and home made chips

Each month there are new specials on offer at Oldtown in Newtown, and after consulting the waitress about the best options that suited my diet, I decided to order the Beef Short Ribs cooked in Porter Molasses. I wasn’t entirely sure if molasses qualified as paleo-friendly, but I don’t think anyone has said otherwise, so I gave it a whirl! In any case, my approach to paleo is to enjoy real food that has been prepared from scratch using fresh ingredients, and I’m sure the sauce was prepared lovingly by the restaurant. I’d never tasted anything quite like it!

It was served with a delicate marinated spring vegetable salad, deliciously nutty roasted broad beans and home-made chips as a substitute for home-made deep fried pumpkin gnocchi.

Verdict? It was to die for! It was so good that I wanted to lick the bowl! The meal was beautifully and colourfully presented as if it were art on a plate. In fact, I was blown away by the presentation of every meal that emerged from the kitchen.

What’s paleo?

Bruschetta of mushroom and ricotta (mine was served in a small dish without the bread and ricotta)

Bruschetta of mushroom and ricotta (mine was served in a small dish without the bread and ricotta)

Although it is an Italian restaurant, it does have a good range of gluten / grain-free options. It doesn’t serve pizza (not that I saw the night I was there) and all the pasta is home-rolled for those who don’t mind the occasional gluten treat. I would recommend the meat options as the beef short ribs were so tender and delicious and perfectly cooked.

This is a place that I will definitely re-visit, and if it’s just as good the second time around it’s likely to become a favourite.

As well as the great food, the service was fantastic and I met the mother (Ella or Elisa I’m not sure which) who was lovely.

I recommend trying this out next time you’re in Newtown.


503-511 King St Newtown



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Alison Sims

Passionate about real food and healthy living, Alison Sims is the founder and author of Paleo Foodies. She is on a mission to discover the best paleo dining in Australia and all around the world. What started as a part time blog in 2013 has lead to a full time career for Alison, who previously spent a decade in Advertising and Marketing. She is now a regular contributor to health and lifestyle publications, a public speaker in food and health, and co-publisher of Paleo Foodies Magazine.

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