The Lemon Tree, Australia Square Sydney

Sydney’s Australia Square has welcomed The Lemon Tree, the latest venture between Tim Holmes à Court and Daimon Downey of Pelicano in Double Bay and Kate McMahon of Catalina.

The Lemon Tree, Sydney
The Lemon Tree, Australia Square, Sydney

Located on the piazza of Australia Square at the corner of Pitt and Bond Streets, the casual 150 seater eatery serves Southern Italian cuisine with flair. Head Chef, Peter Streckfuss formerly of Catalina brings a simple, light yet elegant menu with a focus on produce and flavour.

The Lemon Tree, Sydney
The Lemon Tree Interior

The white-washed interior with pink marble accents at the central bar is bright and welcoming, the work of interior designer, Tamsin Johnson. Lemon trees in terracotta pots feature indoor and outdoor giving the bright and airy venue a Mediterranean feel along with the occasional Italian accent.

The Lemon Tree, Sydney
The Lemon Tree from Australia Square Piazza

The wine list features wines by the glass and by the bottles, from Italy, France, Australia and New Zealand with  G.H. Mumm Champagne as the exclusive champagne pour.. Cocktails ($16) give a nod to the owners’ venues with the Pelicano Martini and the Catalina Martini as well as Italian aperitvi such as Negroni, Americano and Spritz.

The one page oversized place mat menu is kept succinct but with enough choice to tempt you back. The food menu is divided into the Italian classic Primi Piatti, Secondi, Contorni and Dolci. At first, the dishes may seem a little retro but these are classic dishes that hold their own.

The Lemon Tree, Sydney
Sydney Rock Oysters with eshallot red wine vinegar

Start with a glass of GH Mumm Champagne and the briny Sydney Rock Oysters with eshallot red wine vinegar ($4.50 each).

The Lemon Tree, Sydney

The Antipasti ($16 per person) brings a nibbling board of green olives, chargrilled zucchini and capsicum, Testun Occelli al Barolo cheese with its “grape must” and a black olive paste you simply can’t put down.

The Lemon Tree, Sydney
The Lemon Tree – house made pasta

Pasta features on the menu and it is made on the premises as this sneaky peek into the kitchen reveals.

The Lemon Tree, Sydney
Spaghetti e Vongole

Spaghetti e Vongole ($26) is light and fresh and sings the flavours of the sea. The marriage of the bivalves with the right balance of olive oil, garlic with a hint of chilli in a silky spaghetti makes it a dish one would happily order again.

The Lemon Tree, Sydney
Tagliatelle al Ragu

For something a little more robust in flavour, the rich and comforting Tagliatelle al Ragu ($24) hits the right spot with smooth ribbons of pasta in a delicious beef ragu sauce.

The Lemon Tree, Sydney
Lasagne di Carne

The Lasagne di Carne ($24) reminds you of home cooking at its best, good produce and ingredients, simply cooked well.

It’s not all pasta at The Lemon Tree. Other main course dishes include portobello mushrooms in creamy polenta ($28), Cone Bay Barramundi with fennel and orange ($34) and veal milanese ($34).

The Lemon Tree, Sydney
Rocket Parmesan Salad

Sides include a healthy Rocket Parmesan Salad ($10),

The Lemon Tree, Australia Square Sydney
Fries with Oregano

while a dose of Fries with Parmesan and Oregano ($10) is difficult to resist.

The Lemon Tree, Sydney

For dessert, there’s the Affogato ($14), with rich and creamy vanilla ice cream waiting to be topped with a shot of Frangelico and espresso.

The Lemon Tree, Sydney
Ilaria’s Ricotta Cake

Creamy yet not too heavy, Ilaria’s Ricotta Cake ($14) satisfying the sweet spot.

The Lemon Tree, Sydney

But it is Maria’s Tiramisu that steals the show with the right balance of mascarpone, marsala and coffee and may well be the best Tiramisu this side of Italy.

The Lemon Tree, Sydney
The Lemon Tree

The Lemon Tree leaves a lasting impression from the first visit. With the welcoming and casual ambience, the light and bright fitout and unpretentious Italian fare that sings in flavour, you could well be on the shores of the Mediterranean.

The Lemon Tree
Australia Square Piazza
Corner Pitt and Bond Sts
Sydney, NSW 2000
Phone: (02) 9241 1685
Lunch and Dinner Monday to Friday 12pm to Midnight

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.