For 22-year-old Lucinda Khan, the love of cooking is in her genes. The daughter of restaurateur Opel Khan, who owns Metisse and Pizza Boccone, has opened a small pasta restaurant in Potts Point, and locals have been queuing up to take Khan’s dishes home.
“I’ve been in the kitchen with Dad since I could walk,” Khan says. “I grew up with food that was in focus, and that was just normal for me.”
At the age of 14, Khan started working properly at his father’s restaurants. After graduating from high school, she started as an apprentice at Metisse, in 2020 rising to head chef.
Although Sydney’s second lockdown is not the most logical time to open her first restaurant, Khan says she decided to move on anyway; the place was available and they already paid rent for it.
“We decided to go ahead and open something up as soon as possible and just take takeaway,” she says. “This way we get an understanding of how space works so we are ready when we are not in lockdown anymore.
“The day we opened, we had about 20 people at the door to wish us all the best – and we’re already super busy.”
Acqua e Farina has a tight menu that depends on a selection of handmade pastas and shiny sauces. “I always feel like that kind of food,” Khan says. “And I feel like it can be hard to find.”
Proof popular is a pesto linguine tossed in a 45 kilo parmesan wheel while steaming hot.
There is also tagliatelle with slow-cooked lamb ragu and a basil and tomato pomodoro inspired by the simplicity of classic Italian red sauces.
The tagliatelle with wild mushroom ragu and black truffle is a luxury deconstruction of the humble ‘shroom, with four different types of mushrooms – like catnip for truffle lovers.
Plus, the gluten-free tagliatelle can be paired with any of the sauces. You can also pick up handmade pasta to cook yourself at home.
But there is one dish that stands out from the rest: a salmon “bolognaise” made with sashimi-quality salmon that has fallen into a red sauce that poaches the fish while the pasta is being cooked.
“I wanted to make a seafood pasta that didn’t have that strong flavor but that feels like brunch,” Khan says. “We have had so many people come back and tell us it’s unbelievable. The salmon is super subtle. It’s not fished – [it’s] completely true.”
Khan may have left the restaurant run by her father, but she is still seeking his advice. The interior of the Macleay Street eatery was designed by Khan and her father and features earth tones, brown leather seats, dark marble and gold tables and cream walls.
“We want the color to be in the food, not the interior,” she says. “The food is the most vibrant in the restaurant.”
Water and flour
117b Macleay Street, Potts Point
Wednesday to Sunday at 12-15 and at 17-20