Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Lou's Birthday Dinner

As you might imagine, there are quite a few restaurants in Sydney offering varying styles of cuisine which can make choosing somewhere to eat quite difficult for a special occasion, namely Lou's birthday.

However, the search was narrowed somewhat by the desire to eat somewhere overlooking the harbour leaving a dozen or more places on the shortlist to be whittled down to a chosen locale.
The long process involving magazines, internet searches and old fashion requests from people to recommend somewhere ended in our choosing of the Waterfront Restaurant which is nestled by the Rocks and Circular Quay.

A week before our planned dinner we were in the area winding down on a Friday evening when we noticed that there was an Italian restaurant further down the esplanade which looked inviting.

After checking the menu, wine list and our approval of Italian cuisine over seafood, I cancelled the reservation at the Waterfront and made a new booking at the Italian Village.

The next day I recieved a phonecall enquiring as to why I had cancelled a booking and then remade it for the same date and time. It turns out that they are co-managed restaurants occupying what was once a goods warehouse in ye olde worlde. It certainly explained how they were able to cater for over 800 people.

The weather during the week had been a mixed bag of humid dry heat and heavy rain but by Saturday afternoon, it was a pleasant temperature hitting the mid-twenties.

We arrived an hour early so we could try one of the bars in the Rocks and after passing by a few bars which were spilling out onto the street, managed to get a seat outside a busy pub off a side street.

I may be out of touch not knowing enough about Sydney but, like many places, the city could certainly do with a few more bars as everywhere, especially this early on a Saturday evening, was already at bursting point.

One huge plus in regards to bars in Sydney is that they do have more international beers on tap as opposed to the predominant Kiwi beers which, lets face it, leave a lot to be desired.

On arrival at the welcome podium, after announcing my name and reservation time, I was told that there was not one to be found. I had my suspicions regarding my cancellation and rebooking but you would have assumed this was not only cleared up in a phonecall but followed up by pencilling in the said booking either during or immediately following the phonecall.
However, they were more than accomodating and immediately led us to a table at the centre front exactly where I would have chosen if given an open invitation to choose from an empty restaurant.

Unlike the adjacent restaurants in the terraced warehouse conversion where punters can walk within inches of the front tables if they so choose, the Italian Village had a sectioned area of lawn in front so there was a grand view of the harbour overlooking the Opera House.
As we perused the menu it was hard not to gaze up and over the water as the Opera House was lit up in pink to highlight breast cancer awareness and the fundraising walk that was taking place that night.

Pink lights or not, the building looks a hundred times better at night and taking a walk along the quay when the sun goes down is highly recommended.

For dinner, I ordered the proscuitto wrapped loin of veal with caramelised mediteranean vegetables, chilli honey sauce and roast olives. Lou had the roast Chicken 'Carbonara' with olives, prosciutto, baby inions and parmesan cream. Both were quite delicious but we had to wait quite some time for them to arrive but we had ordered the bread selection as a back-up/entree so between that and the bottle of Devil's Corner Pinot Grigio we were all good.

We were a little undecided as to our next move but with a constant parade of pink-clad customed walkers, the view and the conversation, we decided to settle in at the restaurant and ordered a bottle of Ninth Island riesling and tasting platter of the dessert menu which consisted of tiramisu, grappa and Vanilla zabaglione with fresh berries and pistachio biscotti, homemade gelato and a sorbet Selection, roast almond, nougat and milk chocolate cate with orange ice cream and a few others. It was a five-star platter and needless to say couldn't finish it but made a damn good effort.

A brilliant night all round.


Anonymous Lou said...

That was a great meal and a great night. Dessert tasting platters are the best invention ever! No need to make an agonising decision, gimme everything!

7:20 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sounds wonderful! They seriously need to start doing that tasting platter over here, lol! I'd go for that every time!

3:56 am  

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