Pendolino, Sydney

Level 2, Strand Arcade, 412 George Street, Sydney

In Sydney on a Saturday night to see Ben Folds. We’d planned on having a dumpling fest at Din Tai Fung, but ended up at Pendolino instead, as you do. DTF was too mobbed and we needed somewhere close to the theatre to eat. Pendolino presented itself from the GFG App.

I’ve never been too sure about restaurants in shopping centres. You can say what you want about Becasse etc, but it takes away the sense of occasion of dining out. However Pendolino gets round this by being tucked away upstairs and carving out an atmosphere that is indulgent, dark and buzzy. You are won over as soon as you step inside.

It wasn’t easy to walk in without reservations on a Saturday night, but I did have the ‘pregnant wife card’ and no-one can turn that down. We only had an hour or so to eat, but it suited us fine. So, this wasn’t an exhaustive meal, but what we ate was enough to make us want to come back for more.

Pendolino makes it’s own olive oil and so it was good to sample, but was actually the most lack-lustre part of the meal.

The oils didn’t do a lot to appeal. the ‘default’ was a bit grassy and flavoured oils in my mind never work, so the orange and lemon were (not literally) brushed aside.

But the dishes were excellent:

My wife had handmade ravioli with spinach, parmigiano reggiano, gruyere,
buffalo mozzarella, burnt butter and sage

On the surface a simple pasta dish costing more than $30, but it was so worth it. The pasta light and the cheese made it incredibly indulgent, but it was all handled in a way that didn’t make it cloying or too rich. It was smooth, elegant and divine. I was only allowed to try the odd mouthful.

My main was seared herb and garlic crusted ‘local’ yellow fin tuna
with broad bean puree, chicory and mussels:

A generous lip-smacking dish with big bold flavours. The tuna was sublime – rare, yielding, but with a hint of fatty gelatinousness (sp.). It worked well against the garlic rich flavours in the puree and chicory. It was a dish to savour over.

All was good, so we opted for a shared dessert with only 20 mins left.

Vanilla bean and goats curd Bavarese with strawberry salad and strawberry consomme.

Again, a good dish – the goats cheese, giving a bit of body to the sweet flavours and acting as a good conduit for some of the freeze-dried strawberries. The strawberries were excellent as were the ‘consomme’ that was fought over. In essence a simple panacotta dish, but elevated to a fine level.

So a really good impromptu meal and something of a suprise. I’ve promised Vanessa that we will go back. Watch this space.


2 Responses to “Pendolino, Sydney”

  1. Reemski Says:

    I love the “pregnant wife” card. We tried that on Saturday night in Melbourne at MoVida. It took 20 minutes off a 2 hour wait. Needless to say this pregnant lady couldn’t wait that long for her dinner!

    • foodmiles Says:

      I use it all the time now, even to get a takeaway lunchtime baguette at our local cafe, when they’re serving breakfast. I’m not going to stop using it either.

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