For Valentine's Day this year, my boyfriend and I decided to dine at Popolo, a restaurant focusing on southern Italian food in Rushcutters Bay. The restaurant had a special San Valentine five course menu. We both picked a different dish to try for each of the courses, so really it was more like a ten course degustation!
We started with the Seaweed fritters, offered as an apertivo. It looked like something from outer space - airy, green puffs on skewers. There was a subtle flavour of seaweeds and reminded me of eating prawn crackers, only in a spherical shape.
For Antipasti, we started with the Veal carpaccio. The thin slices of veal were succulent and went well with the gooey-ness of the yolk and crunchiness of the puffed rice. However, I was missing a little sprinkle of salt on this dish to really bring out the flavour of the dish.
The Spatchcock on the other hand, I had absolutely no complaints about. The char grilled flavour really came through and the accompaniment with the salsa verde gave it an extra kick of flavour. The roasted baby capsicums were some of the sweetest I have ever tasted. I could have definitely eaten this as a main.
For Primi, we opted for the Fregola and the House made spaghetti. The Fregola (a type of pasta from Sardinia) took on a stunning red colour thanks to the beetroot juice. Even though the truffle pecorino isn't visible on the plate, it definitely was the hero of the dish. The creaminess of the pecorino and the aromaics of the truffle really permeated through. We scraped the plate clean, it was that delicious!
The House made spaghetti with scallops, zucchini flowers and tomato was also one of the best pasta dishes I have had in Sydney. Again, it was simple with only a few ingredients but it was all cooked to perfection and brought together with generous lashings of olive oil.
Onto the Secondi... by this stage, we were already getting rather full! The Lamb backstrap was beautifully cooked but it did not have the wow factor of the preceding dishes. I did enjoy how the flavours all worked together with the sweetness of the confit cherry tomato and the smokiness of the eggplant.
The Duck breast was also very enjoyable to eat and I especially liked the roasted eschallots, which had an intense sweetness to them.
For dessert, we tried the White chocolate mousse with chocolate sand and balsamic macerated strawberries. The mousse was velvety smooth and well balanced with the chocolate crumbs and the strawberries (some of them macerated, others had a freeze dried like texture). It was a beautiful way to finish off the meal...
...together with our second dessert - the Cheese selection with house made fig jam.
For $95 pp, it was good value for the amount of food we ate. The service was efficient, but not as friendly as I was expecting, given the name Popolo means people in Italian. Overall, I was very impressed by the quality of the food and especially the two pasta dishes, which are some of the best I've had in Sydney.
Housed in the Harris Farm complex, Salt Meats Cheese in Drummoyne offers everything from wood fired pizza to a gelato bar. The restaurant was buzzing when we arrived just prior to midday, already developing a strong following despite only being only since late last year.
We started with one of the specials of the day - Grilled peaches with proscuitto, buffalo mozzarella and a balsamic glaze. The grilled peaches had a lovely sweetness and was complemented so well by the prosciutto, the creaminess of the buffalo mozzarella and the tanginess of the balsamic glaze - I would be happy to eat this anytime!
The Slow braised octopus Tagliatelle was another standout. The pasta was perfectly cooked and the slow braised octopus were incredibly tender. The classic flavours of garlic, chilli, parsley and tomato meant you really couldn't go wrong with this dish.
The Truffle pizza had a great aroma from the splashings of truffle oil. The edges of the pizza are fluffy and there's a slight hint of smokiness that comes from the wood fired pizza oven. The fior di latte was deliciously creamy, just wished there was a little bit more of it!
Salt Meat Cheese is a welcome addition to Drummoyne. Everything feels extra fresh because you are surrounded by the beautiful produce, seafood and flowers on offer in the stores surrounding the eatery. Despite being very busy, service was friendly and the food came out quickly. Will definitely be back!
Chiosco by Ormeggio is the casual offshoot of the two hatted Ormeggio at Spit Bridge. After a morning kayaking, we were in need of sustenance. Perched on the jetty with a nautical theme, metres away from the luxury boats and the glistening waters, it makes for a very relaxing setting.
The menu at Chiosco (Italian for kiosk) contains a selection of Italian street food as well as three pasta dishes. We opted for the burrata with basil oil, beetroot and sourdough crumbs first-up. Burrata is a fresh cheese made from mozzarella and cream, and is one of my favourite cheeses. Cutting into the burrata, the cream oozes out and we had fun mixing it with the other ingredients on the plate. The flavours were spot on and the sourdough crumbs gave great texture to the dish.
The lamb skewers were perfectly cooked and the yoghurt and mint oil gave the dish a refreshing hit.
The Fregola with prawns and cherry tomatoes was a simple but tasty dish. The Fregola, which is similar to Israeli cous cous was very well cooked, moist without being gluggy. Though at $22, I was expecting a bigger serve.
Top quality food and friendly service, my only wish were that the servings were a little bigger. It's a great place for a long, relaxing lunch.
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