Yesterday my sister and I travelled to the “Outer” West (if the term exists) for her friend Alinda’s birthday. They both were in the same class in school, we lived in the same neighbourhood in our childhood and Alinda’s mum used to drive us to school. Now, more than 20 years later, we find ourselves still getting together for special occasions in the other side of the world.
Gladys and I caught the train to Liverpool Station. Alinda’s friend Anita picked us up and drove us to the restaurant in West Hoxton. We got lost in our way and arrived when everybody else was there, but they were cool about it.
Salvatore, Alinda’s husband, loves this restaurant. It’s called Zino and the chef/owner is Sicilian, almost from the same town where Salvatore is from. The place is located in the West Hoxton Shopping Centre, which is pretty much in the middle of nowhere.
The chef’s suggestions board gives a hint that the house’s speciality is grilled seafood. Lobster, fish and prawns dishes are more than 50% of the specials.
After catching up with our friends and sipping some excellent chilled white wine, the first bite arrived. It was a bruschetta on pizza base with fresh tomato, shallots, garlic, oregano, basil and olive oil. The classic topping is a winner every time but I prefer bruschetta on bread.
Then things got serious. The first mixed platters arrived, with grilled asparagus wrapped with prosciutto, grilled mushrooms and prawns, calamari fritti (battered and deep fried calamari rings), tartar sauce, roast eggplants, all on a bed of rocket and surrounded by lemon wedges. Everything was perfectly cooked and super tasty and disappeared in a matter of seconds.
The next platters to arrive had grilled seafood on them: giant king prawns, baby octopus and lobster. Once again, all seasoned and cooked to perfection.
Some of us thought dinner was coming to its end but there was more. The stars of the night arrived piled on big platters and surrounded by a thick spicy red sauce. We’re talking about mud crabs. Oh, yeah. They hid heaps of delicious juicy white flesh beneath their hard suits, which we cracked open with the appropriate tools. The mess of eating them was totally worth it.
Salvatore’s son Marcello asked dad if we could get some bread, which was perfect for soaking up the sauce.
After everybody was officially done with the crab cracking and sucking (there were enough leftovers for a doggy bag) we sang happy birthday to Alinda and Marcello (whose birthday is on Saturday).
Following the Italian tradition, some people had espresso and/or digestive liquors (limoncello, mandarin liquor, Frangelico) after the meal.
It was a great evening with lovely food and good company. I just wish I didn’t have to work today.
Shop 1 West Hoxton Shopping Centre
Corner of 15th Av & Edmonton Rd
West Hoxton NSW 2171
(02) 9606 9000