Archive for the 'Italian' Category

Jamie’s Italian – Now in Sydney!!!

Tuesday, October 25th, 2011

I counted down the days.. eagerly checking back on the Jamie Oliver website… and finally, opening day arrived.  I read the menu thoroughly, pre-selected my meal as soon as it was published (and changed my mind several times of course) – however alas, it wasn’t until the second day of opening that I managed to get a bunch of friends to go out with me on a weeknight!  Well thank you to those friends, I had a terrific evening!  We made a booking (you can only book for 6 or more) at 6pm and I ran ahead of my group until I saw that glass front that declared its presence in gold font. Jamie’s Italian!! Now in Sydney!!!   I was lucky enough to go in London in 2010 and I knew that I could expect a good meal at a very good price.

Right out the front, as per its UK sisters, you pass by the hand made pasta machine and produce – it’s made fresh daily!

Even in Sydney, the decor is like I stepped back to Canary Wharf – the furniture the same, the tea towel napkins the same – the chain completely consistent and like it was plucked straight out of the UK !

I loved this graffiti wall.  In fact, there are a few spray paintings around the place that create a funky urban uber cool environment.

We were seriously lucky to score the table right next to the open kitchen. Shouts of “yes chef!” and high energy cooking happening in there – the head chef keeping a watchful eye and cleaning dishes as they went out.  He was also so kind to respond to my questions of “Whats that?” “what’s that?” – you know, sneaking a look of what food looked like before I had to committ! haha.

We finally ordered after a final check of the menu. And promptly, out came two little pails of complimentary bread.  Who offers free bread these days?? The sourdough, pita, grissini and house baked foccacia was drizzled with pesto and served with balsamic and olive oil.  Definitely could have wolfed more of this down! :) (more…)

A Tavola, Darlinghurst

Sunday, July 10th, 2011

Ever since appearing on Italian Food Safari and seeing the real way to make amazing Spaghetti Vongole I have been dying to try this place.  I knew it was a cosy little restaurant centred around a communal table, and I also knew that it is seriously popular.  Both I found to be true when I visited!   The large marble communal table is in fact the very bench where the chef makes handmade pasta daily as we are told by the waiter. In fact, it is so produce driven that there are only a few permanent menu items, printed on a piece of paper and tucked neatly into your napkin.  The rest – actually, most of the menu, is repeated and described individually to everyone by the poor waiter.   It was strange actually, bcos the specials menu was actually quite a bit more expensive than the regular menu, strange given that I would have thought that in season food would be cheaper to source.  The regular menu is more Italian cucina pricing whilst the specials is more your fine dining ($35+ for mains).  So we hedged our bets, obviously!

When you are seated, you are presented with some fresh made foccacia and chilli oil for dipping. Nice. The bread is so soft and fluffy with a just lightly crispy crust with a slight oily texture to the touch.  The chilli oil could have done with a bit more of a kick for my liking, but that’s just me, and would most probably have masked the bread!

So for entrees, I had the salami entree.  It was $14, and I was a bit disappointed with its simplicity.  Three slices of salami lightly fried served on a bed of polenta.  A bit more polenta would have been great – or at least another carb provided or even a veg, as the salami is very full bodied and salty to have on its own.

What I should have gotten was the scallops from the specials menu, served with roasted baby beets including my new favourite thing – heirloom varieties, so pretty!  The dish was scattered with pomegranite seeds and served with rocket.  Good to have the balance of veges, and you have to agree – such a pretty plating up, which contrasts to the rustic simplicity of the normal menu. Are you getting the contrast?  The scallops would not look out of place at a three hat restaurant!

For mains – we only had two courses each because we were in a hurry for the theatre – again , a tale of two menus!  I chose the ragu which I was informed was veal, pork and chicken. Yum.  I was confused as this arrived in front of me – the meat was minced instead of slow cooked chunks :(   It was a HUGE serving! Yum though! But as I continued to eat it, it sat in a pool of red oil – it certainly wasn’t low fat… probably a bit too much oil that perhap could have been better off integrated into the sauce so that it doesn’t split out.  Having said that, the pasta was cooked perfectly. (more…)

Coffee Warehouse Cafe Deli Take 5

Monday, June 20th, 2011

OK I said I would update on my progress of eating there, I’m sorry I missed bringing my camera on visits number 3 and 4 hehehe.  On visit 3 I had breakfast.  I was really disappointed because I was soo excited about trying the breakfast calzone.  It was pale and dry, and mostly spinach with not much meat or mushrooms or cheese to speak of, and really small.  But I guess I am used to gluttinously huge portions of breakfast, and at only $10, I couldn’t really complain much!  On visit 4, I had a gigantic delicious fluffy pillow of jam donut filled with raspberry deliciousness and calories.  Coffee was hot.  Good, yum.  And all this while, eyeing off people eating wood fired pizzas (for breakfast and afternoon tea??).  So it was finally my turn.  On Saturday night 7pm, I guess the word has spread, because I didn’t book (as I didn’t any other time), and it was full and my companion and I were relegated to a bench counter to eat. Boo :(  Oh well.  The food came so quickly and it was SO good!!  The wood fired pizza tasted every bit as good as it looked.  And not to mention – huge too!  And it came so quickly.  It’s delivered so dramatically on a wooden pizza paddle and perches on top of a stand.  Careful when fighting to grab the first piece, lest the pizza take a topple! I wonder if that’s happened yet ;)  We loved the crisp base, the generous tomato base and just the right amount of toppings.  The crust had a good bite too. I’m thinking that my trips to Haberfield for good pizza may be limited in future :)

We also tried the crab linguine, main sized.  I thought it could be a bit bigger, but otherwise it was nice – the pasta cooked al dente, fragrant olive oil and not stingy on the crab.  It was especially nice with the chilli oil that was offered to us.

I’m please to advise that the cool rooms are now filled with all sorts of goodies now.  Great fresh produce – what a colourful display!  I was hoping there would be some exotic goodies like heirloom tomatoes but alas they were just mandarins :( (more…)

Slow cooked beef ragout – it’s winter time! bbrrrr

Sunday, May 29th, 2011

It is WELL and TRULY winter in Sydney!  The temperature can be in the single digits even during the day – and I am soon going to be dragging out my heater – I’ve done so well so far, as most of my friends have succumbed!! :)  Winter food means slow cooked, warming your home and your heart.  And red wine of course ;)  I just made a huge batch of slow cooked beef ragout, it’s so easy, as you just prepare it and leave it on the stove or in the oven and forget about it!  First, I took 500g of chuck steak and cut it into little pieces.  I browned off the beef in some olive oil, then added diced carrot and celery and onion, and three cloves of garlic.  When the veges were almost soft, I poured in a cup of red wine and let the water evaporate.  Chuck in a few bayleaves, basil and oregano, and a 700mL bottle of passata.  I also added a beef stock cube.  Cover, boil on low for an hour.  Snuggle up with a magazine and hot chocolate in the meantime :)

When it’s done, I should have made my own pasta, but I was too hungry and lazy, so I just used spaghetti.  I drizzled it with truffle oil for a special luxurious touch, and served with parsley :)    There’s so much left for my freezer for a few more dinners :)