Picture yourself on the Amalfi Coast, soaking up rays of sunshine under orange and white striped umbrellas… Lazing by sparkling aqua blue water, endless rounds of Aperol Spritz and the tantalizing smell of Italian cuisine enticing your taste buds.
Summer may have ended in Europe, but for us Sydneysiders its only just beginning. Have you been feeling the balminess on your skin as the weather warms up? That lingering aroma of spring flowers in the air? Enjoying the longer days perfect for endless afternoon sessions leading into the night? What better place to enjoy the start of summer, than Ivy’s new look pool and bar, La Dolce Vita Pool Club, with their summer cocktails and Paul Lovett’s delicious Italian food offerings.
On a Wednesday evening we were transported to the Italian Riviera as Merivale unveiled their fresh Italian themed rooftop Ivy Pool Club with one of many events throughout their La Dolce Pool Club Italian Festival. The week long festival boasted long table alfresco dinners, Aperitivo hours with fresh antipasti platters, Sinatra themed pasta and pizza dinners, and included their La Dolce Vita Italian Showcase.
Upon entry, one was greeted with one of three Aperitivos to quench that hard-earned thirst at the end of the long Wednesday workday. On offer was the Especial Negroni, a mix of Havana Club Especial, sweet Italian vermouth and Campari finished with a dash of truffle salt and blood orange. Alternatively the Amalfi Coast concoction of Absolut Elyx, Lillet Blanc, Lemoncello garnished with fresh basil or Tommy’s Margarita with a Rosemary twist, were just as delicious.
As guests arrived, the sounds of a live Saxophone player created a buzzing atmosphere, and we made our way towards some of the food offerings. Inside Ivy’s famed Italian restaurant Uccello, lay a tantalizing Antipasti table filled with cheeses, fresh produce, bread sticks, salami and olive branches. The cheese display proved particularly impressive, with some of the biggest balls of Burrata Mozzarella and huge bowls full with Parmesan, teasing every cheese lover in the room.
Two plates were on offer – the first comprised of Mozzarella topped with pesto, N’Duja, Salami Rosa, leg ham and bread sticks. The Mozzarella instantly melted in one’s mouth and paired perfectly with one of the most delicious basil pesto’s I’ve ever tasted. The bite size chunks of leg ham were full of flavor, whilst the Salami and N’Duja, a fiery pork sausage spread heated up the plate with an edge of spice.
The second plate included an array of Parmesan, Prosciutto san Danielle, Finocchiona and bread sticks to finish. The sharp chunks of Parmesan were especially tasty when eaten with the freshly sliced Prosciutto. Meanwhile the Finocchiona was somewhat like a leg ham with an added element of spicy zing.
As we ventured back to the courtyard, the smell of fresh wood-fired Italian pizza was intoxicating and it was clear where we were headed next. Having enjoyed the Pool Club’s pizzas previously, I knew they were definitely something to look forward to. One watched as the pizza chefs cooked each pizza fresh, pumping them continuously out all night. Two flavours were available tonight, Maiala or Margherita. The Maiala comprised tomato, mozzarella, ham, hot salami and parmesan, whilst the Margherita provided that cheesy all time favorite with tomato, mozzarella and fresh basil. Both were mouth-wateringly amazing with the delicious cheesy smell teasing your taste buds and making it hard to exhibit self-restraint at one slice.
Next up was the poolside BBQ, which offered a selection of dry aged heritage beef with Italian bread. Three handsome young men sliced up some of the largest T-Bones I’ve ever seen, cooked right before your eyes. The meat was hearty, succulent, and full of juiciness. These were plated up with amazing soft fresh Focaccia bread that had been lightly drizzled in olive oil.
The serving sizes had all been perfect and luckily we still had room for dessert. Merivale had enlisted a gelato cart from Italian ice-cream geniuses RivaReno, who have a store located on Crown St, Surry Hills. The three flavours of Blood Orange Sorbetto, Ricotta and Fig or Gianduja were all delectable. We opted to share a cup of the Gianduja- a chocolate hazelnut blend, essential for any Nutella lover to sample! It was some of the creamiest gelato I’ve ever enjoyed, with a consistency similar to chocolate mousse and the odd hazelnut providing a crunchy texture.
As the night progressed, the festivities escalated and the live tunes created a vibrant and energetic atmosphere. This hidden poolside oasis in Sydney’s CBD boasts a rooftop where one can escape the office for exotic lunch breaks possibly turning into long lunches. Or alternatively the ideal spot for evening drinks to soak up the summer sunshine and be transported to a glamorous oasis after work. I’ll definitely be back!
Level 4, ivy
320 George Street, Sydney NSW
Phone: (02) 9254 8088