Craig Wall

Lola’s in Bondi has re-launched with a new culinary direction and head chef leading the kitchen as we hit the mid-way point of 2023.

Restaurateurs Marco Ambrosino and Manny Spinola first opened the venue as Lola’s Level 1 in October 2021, appointing Former Crown Sydney and Four Seasons chef Paula Patano to run the kitchen and serve a menu inspired by Mediterranean flavours.

But the team have decided to start fresh with Lola’s Italian & Bar, snagging up-and-comer Toby Stansfield as head chef.

“We hope for Lola’s to become an iconic Bondi classic Italian restaurant, adding to the vibrant tapestry of Bondi’s dining scene,” says Spinola.

Stansfield joins after time at The Old Fitz and Fabbrica, where he worked alongside influential chefs and honed his pasta-making skills.

“I like to mix and match ingredients that aren’t ‘normal’,” Stansfield told Hospitality last year. “It’s not stock-standard cuisine; you can try a bit of everything because it’s all different.”

The chef has put together a flex menu where diners can sit down for a snack and a glass of wine or a complete experience.

“This general vibe really excited me and drew me in as something I could really sink my teeth into as the team decided to make the change to Italian cuisine,” says Stansfield.

The debut menu features starter dishes including pesce crudo with preserved lemon and dill; vitello tonnato; calamari fritti; and octopus amatriciana.

Pasta options have a big presence at Lola’s, covering semolina spaghetti with ‘nduja; risotto with king prawns, bisque, and prawn crudo as well as pared-back proteins such as snapper with roe emulsion, cabbage, and green garlic and a classic cotoletta Milanese.

Mon Ditbunjong is heading up front of house as manager and sommelier after time at the Love Tilly Group, with the wine list narrowing in on Italian producers and cocktails covering all the classics.

Lola’s is open for dinner sevens from 5pm until late and for lunch from Friday to Sunday.

The restaurant is running a three-course $49 lunch special to celebrate its new direction from 12-4pm Friday to Sunday.