Photography: Christian Dodd
Photography: Christian Dodd

Photography: Christian Dodd
Photography: Christian Dodd

Photography: Christian Dodd
Photography: Christian Dodd

Photography: Christian Dodd
Photography: Christian Dodd

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Favola: Sydney's Fairytale Restaurant

24 January, 2020

The best Italian cuisine is prepared by Italians. This is hardly a bold declaration. In the interests of remaining uncontentious, here comes another easily digestible statement. Our two major cities offer some of the very best dining across every category of cuisine one could loosely slap a label on. Cultural diversity is our strength. Our chefs hail from, and learn in the very places where their cuisine of specialisation was created, refined and adapted, as it was and is passed down from generation to generation. No person fits this bill more so than Fabio Stefanelli of La Favola restaurant in Newtown.

Cooking for others is in Fabio's make-up. Born in Caserta, Italy, a city 30 kms North of Naples, Fabio found himself employed in a restaurant from age 14. What followed was years of gracing the kitchens of fine dining restaurants in Rome, Tuscany, Modena and Milan, followed by international stints in the UK, Ireland and Russia, at restaurants with an aggregated total of 9 Michelin stars. Upon arriving in Sydney Fabio found love, along with a place to settle and establish a something to call his own, an aggregation of his experience and a plot peak in his fairytale – restaurant La Favola (Italian for fairytale). 

“the most important thing is to respect tradition, keep it real, keep it as simple as it was in its origins"

For Fabio, La Favola represents a move away from fine dining and an uncompromising embracing of authenticity. Describing what this means to him, Fabio says “the most important thing is to respect tradition,keep it real, keep it as simple as it was in its origins.” But tradition must be learnt in order to be respected, and Italy is as culturally diverse as any. “Food in Italy is related to culture and identity. If you want the best Mozarella, you must travel to the South, the best polenta you must go North”. Fabio’s birth city of Caserta is known for its Buffalo Mozzarella and the dish Cianfotta (a summer vegetable stew), amongst others, and of course the many known influences of Naples. However, it is his time living and working in the many different regions of Italy which has bestowed him an invaluable understanding of their subcultures and respective culinary traditions. The sum total of this experience is raw Italian authenticity.

“I aim to capture the very emotions of Italian culture, the land and the traditions Nonna gave me"

Fabio, like many before him, struck an immediate connection with the eclectically cultured Newtown and its people. “Newtown has always been one of my favourite suburbs. The specialty shops and friendly community of people meant there was no better spot for La Favola”. Initially, he was faced with the challenge of gently reshaping his customer’s perceptions and understanding of authentic Italian cuisine. It was a challenge he met with ferocious enthusiasm, as it very much represented a return to his roots after years of gracing the kitchens of highly acclaimed fine dining establishments. “I always used hints of French influence in my previous career. Favola represents a shift from a fine dining past into authentic Italian. I aim to capture the very emotions of Italian culture, the land and the traditions Nonna gave me, but always with a touch of elegance, creativity and beautiful plating.”

In Italian language, La Favola translates to ‘the fairytale.’ The suitability of the title bestowed on the bricks and mortar of 170 King Street is unquestionable, as Fabio’s passion for the culture and tradition of his birthplace is as close to magic as one is likely to find outside of the pages of fictional literature.

Favola

MON TO FRI : 530PM - 1030PM

SAT & SUN : 1130AM - 3PM,  530PM - 1030PM

170 King Street Newtown, Sydney

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