Maybe Frank, Surry Hills

Maybe Frank, Surry Hills’ latest pizza restaurant and cocktail bar has opened last week, occupying the former site of Pizza Mario.

Maybe Frank, Surry Hills
Maybe Frank, Surry Hills

The venture by owners Stefano Catino (ex The Island Bar) and Vince Lombardo (La Spiaggia in Coogee) brings more than just delicious pizza, pasta and antipasti. The Maybe Frank team bring a slice of Italy with genuine flavours and Italian aperitivi and cocktails.

Maybe Frank, Surry Hills

Maybe Frank takes its name from the the Vegas Hotel posters and billboards announcing Dean Martin, maybe Frank (Sinatra), maybe Sammy (Davis Jnr). “The maybe factor here is that little bar you find at the pizzeria”, Stefano Catino explains.

Maybe Frank, Surry Hills
Andrea Gualdi

But it’s not just your average bar inside a pizzeria. At the helm is Andrea Gualdi, a cocktail bartender with experience at Sydney’s Palmer & Co and London’s Artesian. (You can read our interview with Andrea here.) His cocktail list covers different styles of drinks. The house cocktails are listed on a board and feature popular drink you find in most Italian bars with one special cocktail that changes weekly, like the Pre Teatro, a twist on the Bellini and peach Martini. The other is a signature cocktail list with Gualdi’s creations that changes with the seasons.

Maybe Frank, Surry Hills

The Bicicletta ($10) is a simple, delicious and popular drink in Italy made with Campari, white wine originally Pinot Grigio and topped with sparkling water.

Maybe Frank, Surry Hills

Also from the house cocktails is Garibaldini ($10), made with Aperol and freshly-juiced white grapefruit. “Summer in a glass”, says Catino, and rightly so.

Maybe Frank, Surry Hills

From Gualdi’s cocktail list (all $17) comes the elegant Sophia, inspired by Sophia Lauren, like a kiss from the most beautiful woman. Cocchi Americano Rosa, tequila, fino sherry and geranium make for the most elegant aperitivo, served on a block of hand-chipped ice.

Maybe Frank, Surry Hills
Just in Thyme

Just in Thyme is another great choice with the flavour of gin, Campari, bergamot syrup ( all syrups are made in-house), fresh lemon and thyme, grapefruit, topped up with soda. The drink has a beautiful texture and makes for fine sipping on a warm summer’s day.

Maybe Frank, Surry Hills
Michelada Mediterranea

The Michelada Mediterranea is a take on the Blood Mary and one not to be missed. It has beer as a base with house-made shrub of tomato, sugar and salt; vinegar, celery and basil, mixed, blended and strained. The drink is “thrown” for aeration and mixing and is served with a salted rim is made from dehydrated lemon zest and Maldon salt. The cocktail packs a good kick of spice and lovely savoury notes that will tempt you to order another. “It goes well with the red-based pizza because of the spice component,” Gualdi explains.

Maybe Frank, Surry Hills
Maybe Frank Vino

The all-Italian wine list at Maybe Frank features Prosecco, wines from a diversity of Italian regions, each selected for the best in its region. Bottled under the Maybe Frank label are two varietals San Giovese and Pinot Grigio ($7 a glass or $30 a bottle) made by Italian producers in in Victoria. Whether you’re after a cheap and cheerful vino or a more robust nebbiolo and barbera, the choice is yours.

The food menu lists a selection of antipasti, pastas, salads and over 20 pizza from the wood-fired oven. Hailing from Ferrara, Pizzaiolo Alessandro Spadoni is at the helm and the dough he makes gives the pizza the point of difference.

The pizza dough is made with a low amount of yeast then rested between 24 and 36 hours which produces a lighter style of dough that has a crunch. The pizza triangles hold their shape well when folded by the edges.

Maybe Frank, Surry Hills
Alla Norma

Named after the Sicilian pasta dish, the tomato-based Alla Norma ($22) with mozzarella, eggplant, ricotta and basil is light and fresh and makes a good vegetarian option.

Maybe Frank, Surry Hills

For a non-tomato based option, Patate ($22) hits the spot with mozzarella, potatoes, rosemary and a tasty spicy Italian Sausage.

Maybe Frank, Surry Hills

The Diavola ($20) is a feast for the eyes and introduces a measure of heat from the hot salami with capsicum, onion, tomato and mozzarella.

If you’re wondering if the pizza is any good at Maybe Frank, your first experience will turn you into a regular and you’ll soon be bringing your friends.

Maybe Frank, Surry Hills
Lasagne al Pesto

From the pasta dishes comes Lasagne al Pesto ($21), described as Papa Vito’s famous recipe. “This is what you eat when you come to my place,” Catino explains about his father’s lasagne recipe. The pasta is made in-house and the lasagne is assembled with 6 thin layers of dough with pesto and bechamel sauce.

You’ll be hooked from the first taste.

Maybe Frank, Surry Hills

Described as “that coffee flavoured Italian dessert”, the Tiramisu ($12) is light in texture and comes with Savoiardi biscuits that you can dip onto the velvety dessert.

Maybe Frank offers so much depending on your mood. Drop in for a drink and a quick bite on the way home, go with that special someone or take a group of friends. You’ll get authentic Italian food and wine, well-crafted cocktails, and a welcoming and relaxed vibe. When it comes to Maybe Frank, there’s no maybe about it.

Maybe Frank
417-421 Bourke St, Surry Hills 2010
Ph 02 9358 3560
Hours: Tue to Fri 5.30pm – late; Sat & Sun 12pm-late

Photography © by Kevin Burke for Gourmantic – Copyright: All rights reserved. Contact us if you wish to purchase any photographs.

Updated 22 November 2015

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About the author

Corinne Mossati

Corinne Mossati is a drinks writer, author of GROW YOUR OWN COCKTAIL GARDEN, SHRUBS & BOTANICAL SODAS and founder/editor of Gourmantic, Cocktails & Bars and The Gourmantic Garden. She has been writing extensively about spirits, cocktails, bars and cocktail gardening in more recent years. She is a spirits and cocktail competition judge, Icons of Whisky Australia nominee, contributor to Diageo Bar Academy, cocktail developer and is named in Australian Bartender Magazine's Top 100 Most Influential List. Her cocktail garden was featured on ABC TV’s Gardening Australia and has won several awards. She is a contributor to Real World Gardener radio program and is featured in several publications including Pip Magazine, Organic Gardener, Australian Bartender and Breathe (UK). Read the full bio here.