It was quite a coincidence that I managed to have two Italian lunches in one week in two of Sydney' most accomplished Italian eateries: the newcomer Mercato e Cucina in Gladesville, and Pendolino at the Strand Arcade. So let see what make these two places so inviting.
Mercato e Cucina
Well, this is way more than a restaurant, as you could shop here for all your food needs, as it includes a deli - soon to stock products from our friends and neighbours at Baska-Jon, a large and beautiful selection of fruits and vegetables, a butcher, a bakery and patisserie, a wine cellar - that can be booked as a private dining room - and a magnificent restaurant space.
There is something about Italian food which makes it the most enjoyable experience each and every time. Simplicity, freshness and sophistication do "bon ménage" to provide the diners with a sensory experience second to none - and this is coming from a Frenchman, although one of my great grandmother was half Italian! The place is always busy, so it is prudent to book, even for lunch...My wife had the soufflé: Twice baked goat cheese soufflé, baby endive, parsley & celery leaf salad, walnut & white balsamic dressing. And I had the Gamberi all’aglio, one my favourites Italian dishes, King prawns sautéed with garlic, chilli & tomato, served with chargrilled, served with grilled pane di casa, to scoop the beautiful tomato sauce. We shared a rocket and parmesan salad and a bowl of chips.
We drank a 2009 Villa Medoro Montepulciano d’ Abruzzo. All for 100 dolars, with coffee and an efficient and friendly service!
PENDOLINO at the Strand Arcade
On level 5 of the Strand Arcade, reside two lovely Italian restaurants, La Rosa and Pendolino, both owned by the same people. La Rosa is a bit more casual, where Pendolino feels like you are in Milano!
Impeccable service, gorgeous food, beautiful people - clients and waiters alike and sublime wine to match! What a treat, and it didn't hurt that my host and his other guest are both Italian!
We all had the RAVIOLI DI MAGRO CON BURRO FUSO, Traditional Handmade Ravioli with Spinach, Parmigiano Reggiano, Gruyere, Buffalo Mozzarella and Burnt Butter and Sage. Amazing! We shared a salad of rocket and parmesan and drank a Terramare "Primitivo" from Puglia, what our american friends call Zinfandel, a perfect match with the butter, sage and combination of cheeses. Perfect all along!
You will soon be able to buy these wines online, as Pendolino import their own via Pendulum Wine Merchants, under the wise guidance of their very knowledgeable sommelier, Cristian Casarin.
Born in France, well travelled, relocated to Sydney in 1997.
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