Lamb with Sweet Potato and Jerusalem Artichokes
Who says Italians cant cook lamb! Seriously these guys nailed it. Firstly it was cooked perfectly, and by perfect I mean tender and pink in the middle and cutting like butter, and secondly it was full of flavour. Accompanied by butter fried Jerusalem artichokes (Ten times better than any potato. Believe me!) as well as crispy sweet potato cubes and chips.
Head chef and owner Eugenio Maiale opened A Tavola (meaning “to the table” in Italian) back in 2007 on a busy street in Darlinghurst. As we sat down at our table we were given a small printed menu made up of two olive spuntini (snacks), three entrees, three pasta’s and three salads. In addition there were daily blackboard specials up on the walls and these are usually inspired by whatever pasta was made that morning. However, it was all in Italian. Yes, I know what you are going to say, one of us has an Italian background. This is true, however he has not quite mastered the Italian language. So the idea here is that your waiter, translates the menu for you into English and then explains, in detail, the finer intricacies of each dish. While myself and my partner discuss and toss up which main we should get, our third companion, who’s attention was elsewhere at the time, choose which waiter (who were all Italian direct from the motherland) she would like to take home. Classy!
Freshly baked Rosemary Focaccia with chili oil
The freshly baked focaccia is soft and pungent in flavour with an aromatic rosemary scent. This is paired with a ‘picante’ chilli oil to dip into. After this starter, it was safe to say our mouths were watering in anticipation of things to come.
BURRATA con CIME di RAPA – Burrata, sundried tomato, walnut, oregano salsa, eggplant, chickpeas, crostinim ($18)
How can I describe the deliciousness of burrata? Imagine a dumpling made of a fresh mozzarella-like cheese. Then imagine that dumpling is filled with a ridiculously gooey, creamier version of that cheese. THAT! is burrata. Popped front and centre on the plate with some crisp bread, marinated egg plant and scattered with chickpeas and other goodies. Oh how glorious you say? Glorious indeed.
Salumi Misti – Proscuitto, Mortadella, Bresola, Salumi, Nduja, House Made Pecorino Bread ($16)
A staple in any Italian restaurant, this selection of meats were really, really tasty. I enjoyed the Nduja, a spreadable cured meat made with pork, salt, herbs and Calabrian chilli, making it one spicy spread. It went superbly well with the house made pecorino bread.
Rigatoni al Ragu ($24)
I love ragu and will most likely order it if its on the menu. There is something special about it. Maybe its that rich comforting feeling you get when you eat it. Maybe because its so close to home due to my Italian background. Or maybe its just because its so damn delicious. Either way if its on the menu I’m ordering it. And judging it. Harshly. Seeing two ragus on the menu I decide to try both. I’ve got to say these were probably some of the best ragus I’ve had. The tomato base in both dishes were rich, perfectly seasoned and full bodied. The first dish had a very traditional pork, chicken and veal mince ragu which was hearty and went will with the al dente rigatoni.
PAPPARDELLE con RAGU di MAIALE – Hand cut pappardelle, slow braised pork, white wine, tomato ($34)
The second ragu dish we ordered was the silky smooth ribbons of house made parpadelle. These were slathered in a slow 8 hour braised pork ragu that was so tender it fell apart at the touch and pretty much melted in you mouth. This was mixed with a generous serving of white wine and tomato sauce that was well full bodied and extra tasty.
348 Victoria Street,
Darlinghurst, NSW 2010