• Beetroot spaghetti with truffle and cashew creme fraiche at Mark and Vinny's. (Mark and Vinny's)Source: Mark and Vinny's
Mark and Vinny’s is the vegan-friendly Italian joint that even Nonna would approve of.
Marina Cilona

4 Apr 2018 - 12:34 PM  UPDATED 5 Apr 2018 - 11:05 AM

What if vegan food was combined with all of the deep comforts of Italian cooking – would this inspire you to toss aside any reservations and order some beetroot spaghetti with truffle and cashew creme fraiche? What about spaghetti carbonara made with activated charcoal and a sweet potato "yolk"?

At Mark and Vinny’s the kitchen team is doing just that: tempting us with locally sourced and sustainable ingredients that taste absolutely nothing like the uninspired salads that most of us earnestly avoid.  The menu is actually filled with classic pastas and comfort dishes that perfectly complement the spritz cocktails offered at the bar. 

“We wanted to create a menu that was innovative and health conscious, but ultimately it all had to be delicious.  That’s really the dominating criteria for all of our food,” says owner Vince Pizzinga, who is the brains behind Mark and Vinny’s along with partner Mark Filippelli.  

Blue spirulina tagliatelle with Dungeness crab turns is one vegan pasta option on offer.

Pizzinga is better known for arranging notes on a score than pappardelle on a plate; he’s just returned from a 12-year stint in Los Angeles writing and producing music for the likes of Delta Goodrem, Emmy Rossum and Michael Bolton. But the songwriter and long-time food lover insists that food and music are similar outlets for artistic expression.  

“Whether I’m composing a song or creating a dish, it’s all just an extension of my creativity.  Contrast, texture, temperature — all of those elements are the same.  I’ve just tried to call on my experience writing songs and eating my grandmother’s food.”

Heading up the kitchen team is Adrian Jankuloski of Iceberg’s Dining Room and Bar and North Bondi Italian fame.  All three men are passionate about sustainability in food.  “Veganism permeates everything on the menu, even the dishes that do include meat.  It’s about realising the great amount of energy and care that goes into raising livestock,” Pizzinga says. “The way we consume animals should be given the same kind of deference in that context.”

Activated charcoal spaghetti carbonara finished with a vegan sweet potato "yolk".

The menu reflects Pizzinga and Filippelli’s Italian heritage as well as the innovation that Filippelli is famous for at Melbourne plant-based institution Matcha Mylkbar. Pasta is made in house or exclusively by Sydney producer Joe Cassaniti of Peppes Pasta. Local supplier to the stars (read: some of the city's best chefs) Vic’s Meats is also called on to provide Melanda Park lamb for the ragu component of the saffron pappardelle, while Pyrmont’s Nicholas Seafood Traders supplies the Dungeness crab you’ll find atop the blue spirulina tagliatelle. 

The 60-seat restaurant will also serve up some of the Insta-worthy desserts that Matcha Mylkbar has become famous for (think bitter orange spaghetti with quince and prosecco foam) alongside more than 50 spritz options and some of Australia’s best organic and biodynamic wines. 

Mark and Vinny's

Mon - Sat 6pm - 11pm

g08/38/52 Waterloo St, Surry Hills 

More #Feaster stuff
Find authentic Philly cheesesteaks at this new Sydney diner
The Nighthawk celebrates America's migrant culture, one flavour bomb at a time.
A festival dedicated to cheese is coming to Melbourne and Sydney
Cheese lovers, form an orderly queue.
Vegan cheese exists and it’s actually good
From vegan Roquefort to Parmesan – it’s possible to find great dairy-free cheese in Australia.