Archive for the ‘Italian’ Category

Ormeggio (3), Mosman

January 16, 2016

Still very good. Just a few pics, not the whole meal.





January 11, 2016

47 Windsor Street, Paddington

Four and a half years at Leos. Leaving lunch at Lucios. A great long lunch spot. Loved the silverbeet taglioni with crab. 

Followed by laser-tag. Followed by a 24 hr journey back to the UK. That’s how I roll…..




Lumi Dining, Sydney

April 27, 2015
56 Pirrama Road, Pyrmont

Nice inventive Italian – worth the escape from Terrigal. Obligatory sashimi & tartare. Pasta was standout as you would hope; a memorable spelt ravioli with liquid burnt butter & squid ink pasta was beurre blanc, sea urchin & bottarga. Very cute herb sorbet to finish.









Via Napoli, Lane Cove

April 25, 2015
141 Longueville Road, Lane Cove

A post for my memories – my son trying to eat a pizza bigger than him. That’s my boy.

Sydney isn’t blessed with great pizzerias. So Via Napoli is worth the trip. Good crispy & chewy pizzas.


Ormeggio, ‘Mosman’ (2)

December 13, 2014

Our local since moving to Seaforth. Can’t complain. Perfect for a weekend lunch without the kids.

On the water views + tartare, Parsley risotto with oysters, flank, chocolate with salted caramel.





Il Perugino, Mosman

September 4, 2011

171 Avenue Road, Mosman, NSW

It’s been a while since the last post. We are now a family. A lovely baby girl. It will mean our dining out will be a little more sporadic, but I’ll be working hard in the coming years to cultivate a budding gourmand.

Our first meal out post baby was an early dinner in neighbouring Mosman. I can now understand why people eat out at 6pm, since we had a couple of hours to ourselves. We headed to this well regarded Italian. By all accounts it’s a bit of an institution run by a few generations of the same family.

On the surface there’s a certain arrogance here that could only be found in Mosman. No website, no menu on the window and once you do sit down, no indication of prices anywhere.

But it is a disarming place. Service is meaningful & attentive. They’re mostly catering for local and repeat visitors and it shows as the postcard menus are explained while the waiter is seated. The family feel is obvious.

Brownie points are quickly earned with decent bread.

A sourdough fresh from the oven with decent grassy olive oil. The first of two BYO wines are cracked open (no corkage).

It’s a good interesting menu with lots of Italian classics.

Vanessa opts to start for seared scallops with cacciatore

What it lacks in size, it makes up for in flavour. Lovely fresh scallops with the Italian sausage being the star of the show with a smack of porkiness. A decent salsa verde brings it all together.

My primi piatti is seafood lasagne:

It’s awesome. Packed full of seafood in several thin layers of pasta – prawns, white fish, maybe a scallop. But the element I can most recall is weirdly the bechamel. It’s wonderfully silky and a perfect seafood base. Easily one the best entrees I can remember. At this stage I have no idea what it costs, but it’s worth it.

The secondi are big bruising plates. Vanessa opted for roast snapper with fresh seasonal vegetables and garlic butter

It was well cooked, sweet and succulent. The vegetables were a bit of an after-thought, but no complaints.

I had the typical bloke order – a plate of meat – veal cutlet with rosemary, garlic and funghi sugo.

It was bad-ass and something to satisfy. I loved the token decoration. There were accompanying greens, but it was all about the veal. It was a decent cut, if not something that really wowed. In hindsight hardly the boldest order or something to get a feel of cooking ability.

And finally on to desserts, that we made short work of:

A chocolate mousse cake:

A tiramisu (of course)

As you can see they were terrible…. It was a good end to the meal.

So a decent neighbourhood place and worthy of its reputation. For the record I think the food was about $75 a head. Not the cheapest, but the entrees showed real quality and mains satisfied the appetite. As a family man, I can see it’s going to be important to have some dependable local places. Looks like Il Perugino will fit the bill.

Pilu at Freshwater

July 3, 2011

Moore Road, Freshwater, NSW

Parenthood is fast approaching. From months, it’s a matter of weeks (now, days). And although our lives will change dramatically, there will always be time for a decent lunch, it just may be a little less frequent. So, we’ll endeavour to make them as good a quality as possible. Which brings us to Pilu. A last minute booking take advantage of a free Saturday.

Our first time here at this north short institution. The location is lovely, a house perched on the hill over-looking the beautiful beach. We weren’t able to get the most perfectly positioned of tables, but every table has a view of some description. Vanessa got the view, but I got the wine, so no complaints.

We of course opt for the tasting menu and settle in for a good leisurely Saturday lunch.

The amuse is a pork/veal ‘bite’.

It’s  a welcome change from the usual soups and croutons and goes down a treat.

The bread is also thoroughly decent – a baguette and a wholemeal. Of course the accompaniement is olive oil and it’s nice and mellow. I think we order more.

We’re nicely settled in and my wine-by-the-glass begins. The introductions are a little over the top and dramatic, but it’s easy to forgive!.

The first dish arrives: Grilled scampi with sea urchin butter

It’s a lovely introduction. The scampi is perfectly cooked, just on the turn. It’s often easy to wolf down prawns, but these were something to savour over, and suck the shells. The sea urchin butter provided some indulgent richness, which although unnecessary considering the quality was of course welcome.

Pasta follows: Ravioli of potato, pecorino, mint with burnt butter, sage and black truffle

An attractive looking dish – butter and sage always bodes well. I’m partial to the idea of potato and pasta. Nothing wrong with double carbohydrates, but although well cooked, it’s a little on the bland side. Because of this the overall smooth consistency works against it. It’s the only average dish of the meal, but in the context of the tasting menu, with the intense ragu that follows, it has its place.

And so on to the very dish: Fregola with tomato and cured meat ragu

Vanessa, loves these sort of dishes. It’s why we’re made for each other… Big, intense meaty tomato flavours. Refinement in the construction, but not at the expense of taste. Every component is the same size, which meats it neat to eat, with pancetta the dominant welcome flavour. It’s great.

Unusually, we get a palate cleanser relatively early in the meal: orange and olive sorbet

It does the job and is very pleasing. Unfortunately the next few courses are exceptionally slow at coming out. But a few free top-ups of wine does the job.

And it is all worth waiting for: Steamed barramundi with olives and vernaccia

It’s a dish that lets the fish do the talking. Normally a little underwhelmed by barramundi, this is exceptional – sweet and succulent. the olive and white wine reduction amplify the flavours. It’s as perfect a fish dish I can remember.

It’s a 40 minute wait for the main – oven roasted suckling pig, served on the bone with condiments

What’s so initially pleasing about this house speciality, is the sense of the main event. All other courses are gearing up for this. A fine selection of pork – the loin, rib and some haunch (i believe) with a big bowl of rosemary & garlic roast potatoes. What’s not to love? There’s no need for saucing. It’s all about the pig and it’s gelatinous and soft where it needs to be, with plentiful crackling. The wait is a thing of the past and it all gets devoured. It requires a bit of effort, but we manage….

And so on to, just the single dessert – saffron donuts filled with cherries, served with sheeps milk ice cream

Again, it’s another cracker. Doughnuts are always a crowd-pleaser, but this exceeds expectations. Cherries ooze out of the crisp doughnuts and the ice cream has a welcome light cheesey note to it. It’s a pity it has to end..

After a dessert wine, we finish with petit fours, coffee and lucrezio liquor, that reminds me of Unicum….An acquired taste. I have that taste…

With the tasting menu and the wait between courses, it’s well after 4pm when we finish. The weather has turned, but it’s a still a lovely place to be to appreciate the view.

We had a lovely Saturday afternoon. There’s worse places to spend the day. We really enjoyed the cooking and the leisurely atmosphere. With kid in tow we’ll definitely come back for the a la carte…

Manly Pavilion, Manly

June 26, 2011

west esplanade, manly cove

We’re continuing a bit of an Italian theme of late. Not sure what has brought this on. I think Italian is always an easy choice when you’ve had your fill of French bistros….. But it’s been good rediscovering decent pasta.

We had found ourselves in Manly on a Friday night. We’re living in Cremorne and have come the conclusion, that if you’re in Sydney, you might as well live by the water. Sydney is about a lifestyle and if you’re not trying to live it then what’s the point? So here we are by the water on an autumn night and it’s easy to see the appeal of Sydney once again. And if you’re in Manly you might as well go to Manily Pavilion. As nice a place Manly is, it’s not exactly a restaurant mecca, beside the Pavilion.

I’d been here before, for a daytime party and the appeal of the restaurant is as much about the view as it is the food, so take away one of the selling points and what’s it like as a restaurant?

Pretty good. The atmosphere is not buzzy, but seductive and nicely romantic. It’s easy to get settled in.

We start with some decent sourdough, that’s chewy and requires a bit of effort with a decent olive oil.

We aim for a pretty light meal, so it’s easy on the ordering.

I start with bucatini, pancetta, tomato, chilli and parsley

It’s a classic pasta combination, normally suited to Sunday nights in front of the TV, but if it works, then it works. It is pretty fine; velvety smooth, spikey and rich. No overpowering tomato, just great textural pasta. It’s a shame it has to end.

On to mains and Vanessa orders the curious sounding – Pepper risotto: Acquerello Carnaroli rice, sage and Taleggio cheese

It’s a new preparation on me. I was reluctant to order it, thinking that a dish with pepper as a primary ingredient is asking for trouble. But the balance is well judged. The pepper provides the heat and edge to the dish, with the cheese comforting. At it’s heart though is a thoroughly decent and soupy risotto, which the ingredients add to.

Ignoring the lure of steak I opt for deboned river trout, green beans and hazelnut vinaigrette

It’s a sizeable serving, perfectly cooked with the trout medium rare. The trout is delightful, sweet and nutty. It dovetails perfectly with the hazelnuts and beans. Not a dish with any subtlety, but it tastes great. Impossible to finish thought.

We decided to sneak in a few desserts, opting for the old-school going with ice cream. We inadvertently order two similar plates – Salted caramel ice cream & chocolate sauce

Vanilla & walnut ice cream

Good, fine flavours. Love a bit of salted caramel. The accompanying chocolate sauce gets drenched over both dishes. It’s hard to resist.

We finish with some always hard to resist petit-fours. A good selection.

Manly Pavilion was well worth the return trip. Good, big flavoured Italian cooking, with the basics done well. A nicely ‘coupley’ evening with decent views (in front and out the window….). It’s the kind of restaurant you expect a substantial bill, but it’s possible to eat here without breaking the bank. It will be an easy decision to go back once more.

Pendolino, Sydney

June 18, 2011

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.

Peacock Trattoria, Kyle Bay

April 21, 2011

25 Kyle Parade, Kyle Bay

Another Friday night venture and this time a trek south of Sydney to the suburb of Kyle Bay. Maybe not the wisest of decisions to head out of town 6pm at this time of the week, but we’d had a recommendation that Peacock Trattoria was worth the effort. Clearly if you make this effort you want it to be worth it.

There’s nothing fancy about this restaurant. It’s a neighbourhood Italian that’s on the tiniest of retail strips. It has a warm inviting glow:

The interior is simple with chic plastic chairs that verge on the uncomfortable, but somehow your bottom adjusts and it’s easy to settle in. There’s a good sense of bonhomie which is created by two relaxed and enthusiastic waitresses. 

There’s a menu to get excited about with traditional Italian food jazzed up with interesting combinations. What’s also more interesting is a ‘trust the chef’ option for a bargain price of $55. With the menu showing a fair bit of ambition it’s an easy choice to make.

The open kitchen is tiny with two chefs and a mini pizza oven to one and we soon get the fruits of its labour with a pizza with red onion & white anchoves

It’s a decent if quite doughy pizza. I generally prefer mine a little thinner, but the flavours are good, if a little full-on. It makes a nice change to have this as an entree.

The meal really gets started with a roast duck salad to share with hazelnuts, witlof and nectarine

This is a triumphant dish. Big bold flavours and contrasting textures. There’s nothing twee about it and it goes down a treat. The duck is crispy, but the meat rare and it combines really well with the fruit and crunchy hazelnuts with the witlof providing a hint of bitterness. I could have eaten this all night.

Next up, another dish to share: Smoked trout rillette with cream cheese, fennel and salmon caviar

Quite an intriguing dish, that flavour wise, initially feels a bit weird with the fish and cheese not the most obvious of bedfellows, but I warm to it. The toast with as much holes as bread, works well and it’s the kind of dish where you spend most of the time trying to balance the ‘salad’ on the bread for the flavour hit. Somehow the oiliness of the trout wins through and it’s a pleasant plate.

Following up the trout we next have scallops with chicken wing, apple, radish and cauliflower puree

First of all, there’s three of them between the two of us. It irks, but nothing to dwell on, considering the atmosphere and the jolliness of the place. The scallops, apple and cauliflower are classic combinations, but the chicken (even though it is delightfully crispy) is maybe one addition too many. Not that I’m complaining, because the chicken wing in its own right is pretty fine. It’s a bit of meal to get everything on one fork, but it’s worth the effort. It’s also not hard to order another class of wine. It is Friday night after all.

Our indivial main course is rump of lamb with caponata, salsa verde and mash

Of its parts it’s lovely. The lamb is excellent, cooked beautifully with a nice jus and a very buttery mash. My problems start with the caponata which is spicey to the point where it overshadows everything else on the plate. So it was something to keep out of the equation of the rest of the plate. So putting that to one side it was a good competent, uncomplicated Friday night main.

Just the one dessert to finish – Cassata with homemade coffee and vanilla ice cream with a grand marnier syrup

This is a nicely old school dessert; something I would never normally order. Not really a fan of coffee ice cream, it’s pretty decent and the whole thing comes together in a pleasing, sweet sticky puddle. It’s a decent way to finish the meal.

This was a restaurant that was worth the effort. There’s some good imagination going on in the kitchen and the dishes. I particularly enjoy the idea of sharing food as part of a tasting menu. It makes the occasion seem more generous and fun. However, I’m not entirely sure if all the combinations worked, with one or two additions too many. But this is a neighbourhood restaurant, not a fine dining haven and I see it as a product of clear enthusiasm as opposed to a smart-arse chef. I hope more people will make the effort to venture down to Kyle Bay.