We headed out tonight for a spur of the moment meal, and being that our first choice restaurant was closed, we decided to fulfill my curiosity about Carpaccio. Disappointingly, the wood-fire oven roasted suckling pig that had inspired my interest in the restaurant was no longer on their specials board. However I was more than satisfied with the options that were! We dined outdoors, and we found the off-street ambience of the courtyard a relaxing place to eat.
We started with Vodka Lime Crushes ($8.50), a slurpingly sensational way of drinking vodka, mixed as it was with lemon-lime sorbet and lemonade. For my entree I chose from the specials menu, the Fresh BBQ Scampi ($24.50), which arrived rather spectacularly on a bed of twice cooked scalloped potatoes, with rocket, a lemon-oyster dressing, and two artfully arranged mussels out of the shell. The two scampi were large, fresh and delightfully full of flavour. The potatoes were perfectly cooked, and the combination of it all worked in a way. More interestingly, it was a combination I had not seen before.
My dining companion chose Chili Prawns ($18.50) from their regular menu. The four king prawns came cresting a delightfully zingy bed of chunk avocado and red capsicum salsa. The prawns were large, fresh and tasty; the chef had pressed them in dry spices, creating a flavoursome dish which the salsa balanced nicely. Both entrees were large, and satisfying.
For mains I again chose from the specials menu - this time a wood-fire pizza of gorgonzola, figs, prosciutto, bococcini, mozzarella, caramelised onion and rocket ($24.50). This pizza was served on a perfect base, a product no doubt of their wood-fire oven. The three cheeses blended nicely, cut as they were with sweet caramelised onion. The prosciutto and rocket were served crudo on the top, and the figs were sublime - perfectly ripe and warmed through by the heat below. The pizza was incredible, but also incredibly large - though the restaurant was happy to put most of it into a pizza box for me to take away.
My partner ordered their Beef Fillet wrapped in pancetta and served with a beef jus, and truffled butter on a bed of baked potato wedges ($29.50). It was a huge, tender piece of beef, seared before being cooked in the oven, and thus full of moisture and flavour. The chef cooked it to the specified medium, and managed to get it to the table in a timely fashion. I was particularly enamoured with the beef jus, which had an almost yeasty edge to it, complimenting rather than dominating the dish.
My only criticism of the experience would relate to the service. I hazard that the waiters have been chosen for looks rather than any sort of useful skill set. Dish explanations, and indeed basic comprehension skills, did seem to be beyond them. But, when they went to ask someone else the answer, they did part with a lovely smile. Perhaps since their serving sizes are large, a good waiter could have warned us against two entrees, and two mains, and suggested we share something.
The restaurant also boasts a gelato bar, and considering the quality of the sorbet in our cocktails, I would imagine their icy treats to be very good indeed. I guess we'll be coming back to find out!
39-45 Norton Street, Leichhardt NSW Phone (02) 9550 9365