This post is long overdue! It was meant to be up sometime in December after we went to the Italian & Sons (7 Lonsdale Street, Braddon (02) 6162 4888) for a Christmas Dinner (for work). We decided to go there after finding out that Italian & Sons was awarded one hat by the Sydney Morning Herald Good Food Guide 2011.
There are two services in one day, one at six o'clock and the other one at eight - we booked the six o' clock one because we couldn't wait until eight to have dinner. Italian & Sons has a fairly small entrance and its name plaque is not in an obvious place, so make sure you look out for the number 7 sign!
We started off by ordering some drinks, a Lemon Lime Bitters for myself, and some Wood-baked Focaccia with rosemary and sea salt to share. The focaccia was nice and soft, very fragrant too. Good way to start the meal.
We had a bit of chat before our entrees started coming. I ordered the Kingfish 'crudo' with pink peppercorns and baby herbs; the thinly sliced kingfish was fresh and nicely drizzled with a light lemon-y dressing. I quite enjoyed this entree, i have to say. Other entrees ordered included the 'Fiore di zucca' ripiene filled with ricotta, thyme & zucchini (stuffed zucchini flower), Pea, mint & buffalo mozzarella 'suppli' risotto balls and Chilli & garlic Yamba prawns & eggplant caponata.
I wasn't particularly impressed with these entrees. The zucchini flower was poorly presented (solely with a lemon wedge) and so was the risotto balls. The risotto balls tasted a bit bland and crumbed very easily. The Yamba prawns dish was probably the best presented out of the three, but it was rather salty.
'Fiore di zucca' ripiene filled with ricotta, thyme & zucchini
Pea, mint & buffalo mozzarella 'suppli' risotto balls
Chilli & garlic Yamba prawns & eggplant caponata.
Moving on to the mains. I've ordered the Orecchiette with suckling pig, broccoletti, chilli and pecorino and also tried a bit of the Spaghetti 'ai fruti di mare', prawn, calamari, tomato and snow pea and the Margherita Pizza. The suckling pig pasta was light and tasty but for the seafood pasta, the spaghetti was a bit tasteless and the seafood components were a bit on the salty side. The margherita pizza was alright, simple and fresh (the base wasn't particularly wow).
Left: Orecchiette with suckling pig, broccoletti, chilli and pecorino Middle: Gnocchi with veal and marjoram ragu Right: Spaghetti 'ai fruti di mare', prawn, calamari, tomato and snow pea
Unlike the entrees and mains, the desserts came out pretty fast. We ordered the Italian classic Tiramisu, Torta Al'Cioccolato (Flourless Amadei chocolate torte with marsala zabaglione and strawberries) and House Made Gelati...i can't recall the flavours clearly but i think they were mango, banana and some liqueur that i can't remember (Cointreau?). I only liked the mango gelato as the banana one was rather sweet. The portion of Tiramisu was quite generous and definitely needs to be shared, taste-wise it was nice (a tad sweet). However, it lacked a bit on the presentation side as it looked as if it was just tossed onto the plate and topped with a sauce.
Left: Tiramisu Middle: Torta Al' Cioccolato Right: House Made Gelato
Not long after we finished the desserts, we were asked to pay the bill and leave. That didn't leave a good impression of the restaurant and some of the girls thought it was rather rude. I understand that they are trying to accomodate for both services, but they could have been a little nicer about it. Overall, the food was average and not sure if it lives up to the one hat it was given. I don't know if the reviewers are more lenient towards 'regional' restaurants because in Sydney, a one-hatted restaurant certainly does a better job than this - especially on the presentation side.