"Italian food - where should we go?"
"Let's go to Leichhardt!"
"Okay! But where?"
Being the aspiring food blogger, I was entrusted with the task of answering that question. Once I found the place- it was all settled. Let me give you guys a bit of a background - briefly. I'm Asian. I have an Asian family. They don't like to (normally) try new stuff. They don't like driving to places far away. In my world, going to Leichardt and that we were trying something so unfamiliar, was a foodie miracle!So after reading countless reviews and blogs, I was down to two - Castel Mola and Carpaccio. The final decision was Carpaccio, made by my cousin KL who reasoned that it would be a better, quieter atmosphere for a family dinner.
We arrived relatively early at 6pm for a 6:30pm booking so we managed to take a sneak peek at the nearby 'Italian Forum' - an area which mimics the traditional Italian architecture and houses a residential area, retails shops and various eateries - which in foodie terms, was extremely appealing to me. I've already got my eyes set on a couple of places to dine and consume dessert at!
When it was about time, we made our way around the corner back onto Norton Street towards our nominated restaurant of the night. My cousin was spot on with his 'atmosphere' prediction. We were seated outside, right next to the fountain and the slow running water was quite a soothing background for the family to converse in and scrutinise the menu.
This was followed by the mains. We decided that we'd have two pizzas and three mains to share amongst the seven of us so that we could fit down dessert later. The pizza selection was quite extensive so we chose one vegetarian, Giardino and one meats pizza, Bologna.
The Giardino was topped with eggplant, red capsicum, red onion, ricotta and house-made basil pesto. The vegetables weren't too dry and sat nicely on the thin and crispy base. As with all vegetarian pizzas that I've tried, it was a light alternative and delicious too!
The Bologna on the other hand, with its selection of sliced beef fillet, grille chicken breast, pepperoni, pork sausage and sprinkled parsley, was a lot more aromatic and filling. Having had a meaty pizza earlier in the day, I was relieved to find my carnivorous needs being satisfied without having copious amounts of oil deposited in my stomach!
What followed came from the Primi Piatti lis, from which we chose a delicious ravioloni filled with roast duck (nomnomnom!) and porcini mushroom mousse served with pomegranate which we upgraded to a main size.
Moving on, we ordered two more items from the Second Piatti - the veal escallops pan friend in white wine & tarragon cream topped with char-grilled king prawn.
I actually wanted to order the rabbit dish too (as cruel as that may sound) but I don't think that really appealed to my family.
Both dishes were very well presented and I don't know about you guys, but the description was genuinely mouth-watering in itself and the dishes were no exception. The veal escallop was absolutely delicious, exceeded my expectations (being the amateur that I was, I stupidly thought we had ordered scallops!) and matched beautifully with the white wine sauce and king prawn. The balentino of chicken was tender and had been cooked long enough to soak up the flavours while not turning it to mush. So in a word - yum!
Having finished our little feast, we decided that five dishes was not quite enough and went for one last dish from the Primi Piatti - the spaghettini with blue swimmer crab meat, in cherry tomato, chilli, garlic and white wine sauce.
My first impression, when I saw this dish, was that it was just normal spaghetti and wouldn't be particularly delicious. When I tasted it however, I really loved it! Unlike normal spaghetti, this was closer to angel hair with the thinner strands which was a lighter alternative and in combination with a nice tomato sauce and the chunks of crab meat, it was definitely a tick from me.
After all this food, we decided not to have dessert at the restaurant after all and went to just grab some take-out tiramisu to eat at home. Although I've never been to Italy, I think that tonight's meal was one of the closer encounters I've had to authentic Italian - but I might be wrong when I ever make that trip halfway across the world to try the culinary delights over there. It was a worthwhile trek and I can't wait to return to the area to dine at the other yummy Italian places!
Shop 8, 39-45 Norton St
Leichhardt, NSW 2040
Ph: (02) 9550 9365