Corner Jellicoe Street and Fish Lane
Monday - Sunday
11.30am - late
You can’t miss the ASB building at Wynyard Quarter, because it looks like a giant, glittering fish. Baduzzi is nestled at its base; bright, fun, casual and open all the time. The masterminds behind this Italian handmade meatball restaurant (Baduzzi is the Sicilian word for meatballs) are Michael and Annette Dearth, and chef Ben Bayly. They also own The Grove, one of the top fine dining restaurants in the city.
The space itself is lovely, you enter through a huge red door into a luminous dining room with swooping light fittings that look like jewels. It’s all curves and cushions inside, with round booths and tables tucked into corners. There is wallpaper designed specifically for the space, and a chef’s table at the back that’s perfect for groups and special occasions, or for those of us who like a good view of the action in the kitchen. The attention to detail is very impressive; every plate is stunning, the cutlery feels weighty in your hands, the marble table tops are cool to the touch.
Ben Bayly’s menu is mouthwatering to read. There are the small shared plates, piccolo, of which my past favourites have been a magnificent hen terrina with creamy chicken liver pate wrapped in prosciutto, and flame-grilled sardines with the punchiness of green olives and white raisins complimenting the oily fish perfectly.
Baduzzi’s signature is handmade meatballs, and the the Coromandel crayfish polpette with braised chickpeas and heritage carrots is one of those dishes you can’t get out of your head, and dream about weeks later when your tummy’s rumbling. As with any great Italian restaurant, there’s a selection of fresh pasta dishes, including a dreamy buttered maltagliati with a duck and porcini ragu. The mains, or secondi, are fresh from the market and focus on nose-to-tail eating. There is also a selection of wood-fired meats served a with a selection of sides that change with the seasons.
The wine list has a beautiful range of NZ and Italian wines, including Poderi Crisci’s Chardonnay from Waiheke (our own little Italy).
Baduzzi declares itself to provide “Food for the People” – that means the prices are incredibly reasonable, and they have an adorable kids menu complete with games!