Essenza Italian

Essenza Italian typifies not just the high quality restaurant scene of Surry Hills, but also the wide-ranging international cuisine on offer.

While Essenza has been around for the past eleven years, restaurateur Kate Still took over the reigns just a few months ago, and already she’s made a positive and complementary impact.

“It’s got a very loyal customer base here, and I’m conscious of that. I like to evolve places and allow them to grow. I want to bring the existing customers with me, give them new reasons to come here”, says Kate.

Part of that evolution is skewing more towards Italian wines and liquors, then of course there’s the food. Kate’s focussing on regional Italian dishes with a contemporary Australian twist, and over the colder months Sunday night is all you can eat gnocchi night, with adults costing $20 and ‘bambinos’ just $10.

Originally from the United Kingdom, food has always played an influential role in Kate’s life, with her mother working as a cook. By default, Kate found herself in the family kitchen from an early age, helping her mum make everything from scratch.

Arriving in Australia when she was 22, Kate enjoyed it so much she stayed. As she settled into her new antipodean life, Kate put herself through cooking school and soon after graduating was employed as a pastry chef at Sydney’s then iconic restaurant, Claude’s.

It’s there that Kate taught one of the chefs how to make desserts, and he taught Kate how to make gnocchi. Going by the mouth-watering indulgence of Kate’s panna cotta with buttermilk granita and the incredible flavours of her beetroot gnocchi, both dishes are worthy of a high distinction.