This week I’m letting you in on the best (and cheapest) things I ate in Sydney.
I was visiting over Chirstmas 2016, and was at the beginning of a long backpacking trip; so being careful not to spend all my money. I was there for two weeks an whilst staying on-budget, I tried to get out to as many foodie hot spots as I could afford.
Dads are notoriously difficult to buy for. Whether it’s your old man (who actually is getting on a bit), a new Dad or a Dad-to-be, we often find ourselves asking “what should I get him for Father’s Day?”
As you know, I’m still adjusting to normality after six months away from home. And as a reader of my blog (thanks by the way, love you) you’ll also know I’m a massive fan of Italian food. In 2015, I was a judge for Manchester’s first Italian Awards where I was sent up and down the region tasting some of the best Italian scran the North West has to offer.
Another notable Italian event I attended recently was a live cookery demonstration by Italian cook, Antonia, at Stefano De Blasio kitchens in Chester. She flew in to mark the launch of their new kitchen showroom and rustled us up some traditional Italian home cooking, and I must say it was exceptional.
Anyway, I digress, so let’s get down to the food and drink at Sarafina.
Nibbles and Aperitif
We arrived early so we could enjoy some drinks outside on the terrace. Yes, outside. The weather was lovely! The restaurant was really busy (always a good sign) so it was nice to relax outside with a drink and some nibbles before our meal, and the waiter was happy for us and a couple of other tables to do this.
I had the bellini, and my friend Lucas had the espresso martini. The bellini was great, but the martini did lack that velvety smooth richness, you expect from an espresso martini. I joked that perhaps it was a lighter, more Summery version? Lucas told me not to mention that in the review because it was a ridiculous suggestion…
Nibbles! The tomato and basil garlic bread was divine. Light, crispy base with a rich tomato sauce topping and sprinkled with pungent, fresh-dried herbs. I really enjoyed this and it gives me high hopes for the pizzas!
The olives were fat, plump and juicy – just how I like them – and the fresh chilli pieces in the marinade worked really too.
Starters and Wine
After the nibbles we moved into the restaurant which was bustling and busy with a big party occupying the right-hand side of the dining room. There were another two tables of four, a table of three and another table of two (plus us), and about another six diners upstairs. Impressive for a Tuesday evening!
We went all-out and shared the following: calamari, pork belly and scallops.
Overall, the starters were tasty and really well presented and cooked. The calamari was lightly battered and still soft, not over cooked at all. The batter was falling off a little but I think that’s just because it was so light, which I liked, as it meant the delicate flavour of the squid wasn’t over powered.
The scallops were lovely – fresh and still had the roe attached which I love. The salad was fresh and crunchy and the celeriac puree was great. I think it would have been just as lovely without the bacon!
On to the belly pork – I think their most popular starter. The pork was crispy throughout, kind of like crackling on a roast pork. It was nice, but it would have been great for it to have a bit of juiciness left, as well as the much-loved crunch!
The spiced apricot tasted like a chutney, and I would have preferred it to have a little more of a citrus lift to cut through the pork – but that’s perhaps just my personal taste and obsession with adding zest to everything! The presentation was faultless, it looked spectacular.
And oh yes, wine, I almost forgot. With the starters we enjoyed a glass of the Sicilian Appregio Catarratto – which had a hint of floral sweetness that cut through the salty, savouriness of the starters really well.
Mains and More Wine
Onto the mains, and I chose the rigatoni amatriciana (Napoli sauce, smoked pigs cheeks and chilli, with roasted sweet peppers and shallots) and the seafood risotto (prawns, mussels and baby squid, Napoli sauce and fish broth, garlic and a touch of ginger).
I chose the amatriciana as I’d had it recently at an Italian cooking demonstration and it blew me away with its stunning simplicity. Sarafina’s version, unfortunately, did not impress me as much. The pig’s cheek was so overpoweringly smoky that I really couldn’t taste the other flavours – especially the chilli.
I love roasted sweet peppers and shallots, but they were so big and chunky they kind of over powered the dish too. I think they’ve over complicated things with this dish and it would work better as a simplified version, but that’s just my opinion!
The risotto, however, was stunning. It says on the menu ‘baby prawns’ but there was one huge tiger prawn still in the shell and lots of king prawns throughout the dish.
The fish broth flavour shone through, the ginger gave it a little warmth and it was all cooked really well. I would certainly order this dish again.
With the mains we drank Montepulciano d’Abruzzo, which worked really well with the rich, tomato based dishes as it’s not too heavy and is dry – very drinkable indeed!
Coffees and Desserts
You won’t believe this but yes, we had room for pudding *fat food blogger alert*.
Call me old-fashioned, but I love tiramisu and think it’s always a good judge of an Italian restaurant. We also ordered crema Catalunya which was subtle, moreish and went well with the coffee.
The tiramisu was an improvement on the one I ate at Gusto last year before my travels. A VAST improvement, as Sarafina’s version isn’t trying to be all cake-like and fancy. It’s full of cream and the coffee flavour shines through. One gripe however, was that I couldn’t taste any Amaretto, which was disappointing as I love a boozy pudding – but again I think this may just be personal taste!
The espresso was lovely – but no time for any other coffees as we literally had to dash for our trains. We lost track of time and I do think that’s partly because of the lovely, bustling atmosphere in this place. You kind of forget where you are whilst enjoying your meal which is a great quality for a restaurant to have, I must say.
I thought the decor was simple and stunning and the bathroom finished to a beautifully high-standard. Overall I’d recommend Sarafina, they have a great choice of food and drink and the staff are friendly and professional.
Thanks to Romin at Sarafina for inviting me along to review their food and drinks after the lovely refurbishment. As always, opinions are honest and based on my own experiences and I hope you’ve found the review useful!
I’ve been home for three weeks now, and after all the usual questions about which country I loved most, and did I have the time of my life (India/Thailand/Vietnam and YES), the other question people keep asking me is “how’s it been, adjusting back to ‘real life’?”
So I thought I’d share a post on how I feel about it all. But if you’re here for recipes or reviews, click the links!
Ahh, India. You beautiful, beautiful place. As part of my six months backpacking I spent a month in India earlier this year and it ended up being one of my favourite countries in the world (so far!)
It’s culture, vibrancy and colour just completely captivated me. And so did the food. I’ve always loved Indian food in Britain, but that of course is a whole different cuisine. Chicken tikka masala or lamb vindaloo are rarely or never actually eaten in India, so I was excited to see what new dishes I could discover.
When we think of Asian food, our minds likely conjure up images of our favourite Indian or Chinese dishes. Last year, Just Eat conducted a survey to find out the nation’s top takeaway dishes, and 6 out of the top 10 originated from Asian countries. But, the day-to-day Asian diet is much healthier than you may think. Compared to a Western diet, the daily eating routines in the East are said to ward off obesity and disease, but how? Here’s my top five ways Asian eating habits can make you healthier, just by making a few simple switches…Continue reading “Five Reasons You Should Eat Like An Asian”
Ahh, Malaysia. A breath of fresh air after three rainy weeks in the Philippines. As soon as I landed I had a good feeling, mainly because of the good things I’d heard from family and friends. But, with so much on my travel agenda my time was fairly limited. From 18th January to the 2nd February I visited Kuala Lumpur, Penang, and Langkawi. Continue reading “12 Reasons To Visit George Town”
I know I’ve kept you all in suspense and it’s taken me months to publish my first travel post. Truth is, I’ve been enjoying every minute and making the most of it; filling my time with eating, drinking, meeting new people and exploring new places. Southeast Asia really does offer some first-class ways to procrastinate. Continue reading “Best Places to Eat in Bali”