Would you suggest an Italian restaurant for the farewell of an Italian chef? Bad idea, I know. My initial suggestion was Russo & Russo, as it seemed to be supported by several reviews in very reputable blogs, but they do set menu for groups of 6+ and that was a bit of a hassle for us. So I went ahead and included Oldtown in Newtown in my set of suggestions, and people voted on that one based mostly on location.
The gang included the Italian chef, a Kiwi chef/restaurateur and his wife, another Italian citizen, a couple of gourmands, and a former cook and food blogger (that would be me). Tough crowd to please.
First, the good. We all loved the decor and vibe of the place. Service was good and they were very patient with questions and special requests.
We started things off with a couple of nibbly dishes to share. The marinated olives were plump and delicious. The fresh figs served with duck prosciutto and buffalo ricotta were nice but IMO it lacked a bit of character. A strong flavour to contrast with the mild ones.
Marinated olives ($5)
Fresh figs, duck prosciutto & buffalo ricotta ($20)
A couple of buffalo capreses were ordered, too, and sent around the table to try. Good salad.
Buffalo caprese ($18)
A few of us ordered the tagliata, a 260g pasture-fed Angus Scotch fillet sliced and topped with salsa verde, served with hand-cut potatoes and smoked aioli. The dish was impressive and I really enjoyed. I heard from two people that it had too many potatoes and not enough meat but I disagree. I would have the same dish again.
The guest of honor ordered beer molasses ribs, beef ribs slow cooked in beer molasses with deep fried pumpkin gnocchi, pickled veggies and charred corn. Looked and sounded great, but I think he wasn’t very impressed with the dish.
Beer molasses ribs ($29)
The Wagyu beef lasagna seemed to be the biggest disappointment of the night. Apparently it was more pasta than sauce.
Wagyu beef lasagna ($24)
The beetroot gnocchi with radicchio, creamy blue cheese and walnuts seemed to be a better dish.
Beetroot gnocchi ($22)
There was also jar of pickled chillies floating around. I don’t know where it came from but it stayed within my reach the whole night.
I had been drinking red wine. By the time someone mentioned dessert (I think it was me) my good judgement was gone and I gave in. I had an affogato with Frangelico; it was delicious.
The guest of honor had a chocolate & caramel tart that he didn’t like. I felt
Chocolate & caramel tart ($12)
The home made tiramisu and canoli were better received by their non-Italian eaters.
Home made tiramisu ($10)
Home made cannoli ($12)
Oldtown in Newtown
6/503 King St
Newtown NSW 2042
(02) 9557 4339