The 24 year old Italian

It’s no secret that I love to eat Italian food. So when it was my turn to pick a Sydney restaurant to celebrate an early Christmas and mark the end of a brilliant year with friends, I drew up a shortlist of ten restaurants of which quite a few were Italian. The criteria was simple…..bloody great food required! From a bit of simple research, reading this and that – this is what I came up with:

1. Sepia

2. La Scala

3. The Devonshire

4. Almond Bar

5. Il Perugino

6. A Tavola

7. Assiette

8. Duke Bistro

9. Sake 

10. Buzo

I questioned do I try somewhere new that has had rave reviews or do I book somewhere tried and true. After some discussion with Mr ELG, I went with the latter.

Numero cinque; Il Perugino

I first went to Il Perugino 11 years ago. Memories of that night are bloody great food, no menus with the waiter telling you what is being served instead and lots of people talking, chatting and simply enjoying their food. Over the years I have been back numerous times and the memory never changes; just the people at my table and the food of course, as the seasons change. Situated on Avenue Road in Mosman, Sydney next door to the drycleaners, Il Perugino has been in the same place for 24 years, run by passionate people who describe the menu to you like poetry. Last night as I was listening to the menu (they did introduce postcard menus a couple of years back but go through the detail all the same), I was salivating from one course to the next and the food wasn’t even in front of me yet. At the next table, a man was devouring a steaming bowl of fresh seafood while his friend had ordered the lamb shank and I watched the meat just melt away from the bone. With Antipasti on the way, this menu had too many choices; a lovely position to be in rather than no inspiration at all.

Teasing the tastebuds, the Antipasti was laid in front of us and did not fail to excite. Button mushrooms, artichoke hearts, mussels, fritters and eggplant swooped in seconds.

Next up for me were the duck, sage and burnt butter crepes. Mr ELG ordered the salmon carpaccio. One word; delicious. Actually two words; magnificently delicious!

As a main, Mr ELG and I ordered the same dish (very rare) and again, from the kitchens of Il Perugino came a marvelous flavour from such simple ingredients; pappardelle, zucchini, garlic, olive oil, parsley and vongole.

We couldn’t not eat dessert and the four of us with no hesitation each ordered a sweetie with the promise to share. The tiramisu was tantalising, the limoncello cheesecake with baked rhubarb and blood orange gelato was so refreshing, the warm apple and walnut cake was comforting and the passion-fruit creme brulee made it hard to share!

As I looked around the room last night on the Tuesday before Christmas, all the tables were full and there were babies, children, young and old enjoying the moorish moments. Il Perugino is a local to be loved and in fact, numero uno in my mind.

Il Perugino @ 171 Avenue Road, Mosman Sydney 2088

the eat week that was

Adjusting to my LOL (lady of leisure) lifestyle with BIT (baby in tow) addition whilst omitting the breastfeeding, nappy changes, nap time and tummy time; one still needs to eat! And looking back at the week that was there have been quite a few lunchtime highlights and with the weekend just one sleep away, I urge you to go, stop by and feast.

Monday; first stop ~ Piato on Blues Point Road, McMahons Point situated amongst the row of shops with the black and white striped awning. Feasting with Lizzy and BIT and roasting in the gorgeous midday sunshine, we were both famished and admittedly coming off the back of dining at a new but oh-so-nasty-n0-go cafe the weekend before (another post altogether about when you know you will never go back somewhere when you leave feeling like you have been ripped off and taken for granted as a customer) and so in other words, we were eager to eat. By 1pm, most of the sidewalk tables laden with sunshine had been taken bar one which we quickly swooped on and with no time to waste with Lizzy in “lunch hour”, orders were placed.

After a short exchange of gossip and a peep and ooh at a sleeping baby, our lunch was ready and laid before us. I had ordered the Saffron Pappardelle and Lizzy had ordered the Homemade Cannelloni. Immediately I was impressed with the generous serving of saffron-tinged pappardelle ribbons accompanied by bite sized chunks of chicken, olives, chorizo and capsicum. The plate was alive with colour and texture and after a sprinkling of freshly cracked pepper, I began to devour it. Meanwhile, Lizzy’s cannelloni had every essence of “homemade” injected in her lunch. Cheese was oozing and bubbling on top and the cannelloni tubes were trying to burst out from underneath the blanket of mozzarella – visibly filled to the brim with a steaming bolognese sauce. Conversation halted and silence emerged between the two of us as lunch was undoubtedly enjoyed and we made a pact to go back!

Wednesday; second stop ~ Bonds Corner Fine Food Cafe on Sailors Bay Road, Northbridge situated just past the golf course. The sunshine was out again under cloudless blue skies, but the wind was more fresh on the skin. With most diners already been and gone by 1.45pm and with their soup and lasagna sold out, I ordered crispy skin salmon on a bed of pea and lemon risotto. Taking a moment to sip my hot cappuccino and loving the shaved chocolate flakes resting on top of the foam, the cafe’s position is bathed in sunlight and warmed my back, making winter not that bad! The salmon arrived shortly after and the plate again was alive before me with the skin golden and crisp to bite into and the risotto was creamy with lemon zest bursts and a smattering of peas. For a cafe slightly off the beaten track and away from the hustle and bustle of the plaza, I loved the personal touch and evident passion for food from this cafe and am bound to be back soon.

Tomorrow I leave for the snow with Mr ELG and BIT and in frosty 2 degree weather, I look forward to apres-ski moments of mugs of hot chocolate, toasted marshmallows, buttered popcorn and having bowls of my freshly made batch of chocolate and hazelnut toasted muesli (see prior post for recipe). I look back on this eat-week-that-was with fond memories and am already thinking about when I can get back to these two hot spots to enjoy, eat and devour more!

Piato @ 123 Blues Point Road, McMahons Point NSW 2060

Bonds Corner Fine Food Cafe @ 2/395 Sailors Bay Road, Northbridge NSW 2067

Published in: on June 24, 2011 at 2:01 am  Leave a Comment  
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