This week we chatted to our assistant designer, Larissa Raywood, who designed the interior of this amazing Italian restaurant in Balmain with her partner, Paolo and his twin brother Marco Orso. What was the inspiration for the fit out at Mantecato? My inspiration for the fit out came directly from spending time in Italy a few years back and falling in love with their passion of food, freshness and the focus of planning your day around eating. From the markets of Venice to dinner at Mamma’s house near the Amalfi Coast this communal idea of eating, sharing stories and feeling at home is where I was headed. An updated freshness to your typical trattoria. What were some of the challenges faced with the project? Having a two-week deadline, putting all your hopes in different trades and trusting it all comes together how you envisioned and planned. (Not to mention a new job – and an awful cold in between) Did you source any of your items from any interesting places? Serviettes were handmade by one of the owners mums in Italy along with the upholstered bench cushion. But my favourite locally sourced item is the butchers block entrance table – an Australian original which dates back to the 1920’s. What is your favourite thing about the project? Definitely the wine box wall – it’s the first thing you see entering the space, a repurposed wonder with every box holding a story for these guys who are obsessed with their wines – especially the imported Italian ones. So I literally have their passion plastered on the wall which also functions as a storage and serving station. LOCATION: 129, 85 Reynolds Street, Balmain, Sydney NSW 2041, Australia [At the roundabout crossing Hyam St + Reynolds St] PHONE: 02 9810 9125 HOURS: M closed T–Su 6pm-10pm Mention this article when booking and you will receive a free limoncello liqueur at the end of your meal!