Ormeggio at The Spit

http://www.ormeggio.com.au

d’Albora Marina, The Spit, Mosman

A Saturday night and I didn’t like the idea of heading to the city for a good meal. It’s either a bus or a taxi and sometimes it’s just too much of a hassle. So we looked a little closer to home and realised that Ormeggio was a short distance away. It’s situated on the Spit bridge in a picturesque location, which you don’t really get the full benefit of in the evening, which meant me asking for a view at the time of reservation a little pointless and laughable.

The restaurant itself is pretty big. On the evening we went it was full of dewy-eyed couples and families. I think it’s a little safe to say that this is par for the course in Mosman, so move on.

We start with the obligatory amuse-bouche:

It’s cream of corn (of course it is). The balance is a little out of whack. It tastes more of cream than corn. It’s quickly forgotten and we move swiftly on.

We decide to have a couple of oysters – They’re Claire-du-Lune and need no dressing, since they’re fresh, clean and not too briny. Our spirits are lifted.

The first courses arrive:

I opt for casoncelli filled with mortadella, pork and beef, served with burnt butter, sage and pancetta. It’s beautifully presented and the pasta is deliciously crisp with a great savoury flavours with the butter and sage adding (perhaps unnecessary) richness. It was extremely tasty, but I felt restrained by the presentation which demonstrated the relative paucity of the serving. Pasta is essentially comfort food and in my mind, it can’t come in small servings.

This dish may look a little odd, but it was excellent – beetroot risotto with gorgonzola. It was sweet with the cheese adding creaminess and a bit tang. It went down very well.

It geared us up for the main course:

We both got talked into the house special (“I’ll check with the chef, since we may only have a few left.”).  A traditional spit roast of duck, pork and quail cooked for 5 hours served with polenta.

The meats were stripped straight of the spit, piled high, surrounded by the cornmeal. It was undeniably tasty with the meat soft and flavoursome – properly seasoned with a smokey char. There was lots of pork and I certainly enjoyed a nice piece of quail, but the duck was seemingly MIA. Nevertheless it was a dish to persevere with the full-on meat and polenta combo.

We then finished with a chocolate ‘Barbajada’, caramel gelato, almond and mint crumble:

A picturesque dessert, which contained unmentioned coffee. In my book coffee only belongs in dessert as an espresso. It was not bad, but the flavours were relatively muted – not chocolately, caramel or almond enough, just a bit bland.

We had a very pleasant meal, I think, but I found this place a difficult restaurant to judge. The cooking was skillful and deserving of the attention it’s received, but there was little niggles about the dishes & how they were served that grated a bit. I think this has to do with the formality of the restaurant in the evening. I would suspect this restaurant comes into its own during the day, with the outdoor space, sun shining and views which creates a relaxed environment where the food can shine as part of the overall expeience as opposed to being the centre of attention.

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