Eating, drinking, and coming together are the pillars of Sonny’s Bottega

Every Friday night, Sonny’s has a tradition. Louis Prima’s ‘Che La Luna’is blasted over the stereo...

If you’re Italian, food means love. The more you love someone, the more you feed them. And love is the foundation of Sonny’s Bottega, a family-owned Prosecco and Spuntino (meaning snack) bar situated on the cusp of Preston and Reservoir, right where it’s about to get trendy.
Steeped in old-school Italian tradition and named after one very special Nonno, Sonny’s is a joint venture by Erasmo Rosa – more commonly known as Raz – and his sister Gianna Rosa-Pether, birthed over a few too many glasses of prosecco while on holiday in the Sardinian sunshine.
“We were doing what we do best – eating and drinking and being loud. We came up with the idea to create a space where we can portray exactly how we live for others.”
That “we” that Raz is talking about is second generation Australian-Italians: the Australian-born children of the Italian migrants who came to this country speaking not a word of English, who managed to build wealth and security from scratch, preserving their strong sense of culture through their offspring.
“Our parents came over here when they were young, like 12 or 13, so we were pretty much brought up the old-school Italian way – all about family and eating good food and being together and creating memories.”
Family is a key part of Sonny’s Bottega, from the brother/sister owners to the origin of the name: Nonno Sonny.
Sonny was the nickname of Domenico Adriani, a loving old Italian patriarch who migrated to Australia in the ‘60s with his family, and taught his Aussie friends to come together in the style of the country he left behind – over mounds of food and bottles of wine, with plentiful hand gestures and loud, laughing voices.
Adriani in fact, was such a warm character that the Australians nicknamed him Sonny, and his wife Graziella, Sunshine. (Give yourself a moment to scoop your melted heart up off the floor.)
Sonny’s Bottega is the perfect tribute to this generosity of culture, a legacy left behind by a man who managed to encourage neighbourhood peace in an era of racial slurs and competing cultures.
This community vibe is at the heart of what makes Raz and Giannna’s Bottega so special – their customers are mostly regulars, who are there as much for the nostalgia as the good food and wine.
Every Friday night, Sonny’s has a tradition. Louis Prima’s ‘Che La Luna’is blasted over the stereo, the chef, Roberta, comes out of the kitchen banging a wooden spoon on a pot, and the bar erupts with cowbells, whoops and claps. Patrons get up on their chairs and sing and dance, and prosecco glasses are lined up on the counter while Raz and his bar staff pour free Italian bubbles for the duration of the song.
It’s antics like this that make Sonny’s Bottega such a special venue, steadily building a strong and loyal following only an impressive four months since their opening.
Nonno Sonny would surely be proud.
The menu at Sonny’s is another remarkable feature. Small and classic, it changes weekly, with each dish the brainwave of Venetian chef Roberta, who not only likes to bang pots and pans to Louis Prima songs, but newly arrived from Venice, has an intricate knowledge of Italian flavours.
Choosing from the 15 or so prosecco options on rotating offer to go with her menu may be overwhelming, but Raz is an expert, having drunk so much of it himself.
Coming up in March, Raz, Gianna and Roberta are bringing another quintessential Italian tradition of food and togetherness to their patrons – Tomato Day.
If you haven’t heard of this annual festivity, you’d better get out to Preston and experience it on Saturday March 10 for yourself, because Tomato Day is sacred.
It’s a day when the whole family gets together to peel, chop, cook and bottle tomatoes for homemade passata, ready to be the base of all cooking for the next year.
Sonny’s customers will get to take part in this age-old tradition, and then taste-test their own sauce on some of Roberta’s homemade pasta, as well as taking six bottles home with them for experimentation in their own kitchens.

Sonny’s Bottega is located at 647 Plenty Rd, Preston. They’ll host Tomato Day on Saturday March 10.