Posts tagged Italian

Vessel Italian & Bar, Sydney

Seared scallops, Jerusalem artichoke puree, pork crackling, green apple salsa ($24). Vessel Italian and Bar, Sydney: Sydney Food Blog Review

You know that saying, “never go to bed angry”? Well you should also never go to bed hungry. It’s a thing. And it was exactly what we were, um, trying to prevent when we rocked up at Vessel Italian & Bar, and ordered two pizzas, a pasta, an entree and a salad.

Because salads are healthy, right?

Also, we had a $100 voucher from Zomato to spend, and I have an appetite like an Asian. Win-win!

Nomad's hot chorizo, red pepper and rosemary ($19.50), and the Garlic Pizza ($8.50). Vessel Italian and Bar, Sydney: Sydney Food Blog ReviewFrom left: Nomad’s hot chorizo, red pepper and rosemary ($19.50), and the Garlic Pizza ($8.50)

For the pizzas, we ordered the Nomad’s hot chorizo, red pepper and rosemary ($19.50), and the Garlic Pizza ($8.50). Because we really like garlic bread.

So classy, I know. ?

Anyway, maybe because I’ve been so spoilt lately by thick, chewy, bready crusts, I’m finding that the thin crispy ones aren’t really doing it for me anymore. Nothing wrong with them, but just not satisfying.

The topping on the Nomad’s hot chorizo, though, was pretty good – the chorizo was cooked to a satisfying crispness on the top, while retaining tender chunks of flesh in the middle. Could’ve done with a stronger tomato flavour in the base, but it was just because there was so much cheese, and I could never complain about too much cheese.


Seared scallops, Jerusalem artichoke puree, pork crackling, green apple salsa ($24). Vessel Italian and Bar, Sydney: Sydney Food Blog ReviewSeared scallops, Jerusalem artichoke puree, pork crackling, green apple salsa ($24).

The Seared scallops, Jerusalem artichoke puree, pork crackling, green apple salsa ($24), brought up a bit of a “ooooh, fancy!” reaction in me, probably because I do love a good slate plate.

Isn’t it just so pretty?

A photo posted by Tammi Kwok (@teafortammi) on

The scallops were nicely seared without being overdone, the Jerusalem artichoke purée was silky and luscious, and the green apple salsa brought a lovely touch of freshness. The pork crackling though? Um. It wasn’t the best. *hides*

Never have I thought that I’d ever complain about pork crackling, but there it is. It was broken up to fairly small pieces, and gave me that feeling of…of…

You know when you eat shellfish and you can bits of shell stuck in the back of your mouth? Yeah. Like that.

Spaghetti aglio olio, with baby squid and pangritatta ($22). Vessel Italian and Bar, Sydney: Sydney Food Blog ReviewSpaghetti aglio olio, with baby squid and pangritatta ($22)

The Spaghetti aglio olio, with baby squid and pangritatta ($22) didn’t fare too well, either. I love, LOVE aglio e olio – which usually is a light pasta dish of garlic, olive oil, and sometimes red chilli – but it’s the simplest dishes that are sometimes the hardest to get right. This particular one was a bit lacking in flavour for me – salt, garlic…oil. And considering the name of the dish translates to “garlic” and “oil”, it’s not a great sign.

The squid was cooked very nicely though – tender and juicy and not rubbery – so points for that.

Caprese, with heirloom tomato, buffalo mozzarella, basil and olive oil ($14). Vessel Italian and Bar, Sydney: Sydney Food Blog ReviewCaprese, with heirloom tomato, buffalo mozzarella, basil and olive oil ($14)

Much better was the Caprese, with heirloom tomato, buffalo mozzarella, basil and olive oil ($14). It’s really REALLY hard to mess up a caprese, assuming tomatoes are in season (which they are), and this provided a lovely freshness that balanced out the whole meal.

Kinda distracted me from the fact that I was eating a whole ton of cheese.

Mmm cheese.

The service also had its ups and downs – the lady who seated us was very friendly, but after that, it was pretty hard to get anyone’s attention, even though the restaurant was not even half filled when we went. When we did get a hold of someone though, they were pretty accommodating in our requests for salt and chilli, and our bottle of water got topped up without asking.

I’m not sure if there’s anything I would particularly make the trip back for – it was a bit on the average side for me – but I don’t think I would kick up a fuss if I had friends who wanted to come here for a group outing.

Not great, but could be worse.

Insatiable Munchies dined as guests of Zomato.
Vessel Italian and Bar
1 Shelley St
Sydney NSW 2000, Australia
Phone: +61 2 92955070

Vessel Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Cheesecake of legends: Pasticceria Papa, Haberfield

Sydney Food Blog Review of Pasticceria Papa, Haberfield: Nutella Baked Ricotta Cheesecake

For someone who loves cheese to the point of a gallbladder removal (true story), I’ve always been a bit touch and go on cheesecakes. Light, airy, lemony cheesecakes are good, dense, dry, baked cheesecakes, not so much.

But there has been so much hoo ha about the baked ricotta cheesecakes from Pasticceria Papa that I had to give it a go. Maybe I’d been eating it wrong this whole time.

Sydney Food Blog Review of Pasticceria Papa, Haberfield: Nutella Baked Ricotta Cheesecake

But then again maybe I just wasn’t built for cheesecakes. I mean, I may look like I’m made of cheesecakes, but I assure you that it’s not the case. The original ricotta cheese cake had the effect of drying my mouth out, and the nutella version just added a sticky rich feeling on top of everything.

Such a shame, since it’s one less delicious thing in the world to appreciate. My tastebuds mourn, and my waistline rejoices. Or at least that’s how I’m explaining the jiggling.

This meal was independently paid for.
Pasticceria Papa
145 Ramsay Street
Haberfield, Sydney, NSW
Phone: (02) 9799 9531

Pasticceria Papa Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Sfaglia wha? Pasticceria Tamborrino

Sydney Food Blog Review of Pasticceria Tamborrino, Five Dock: Lobster Tail with Chantilly Cream

What happens when three food bloggers get together to make Danish pastries? Lobster tail happens, that’s what. A discussion about cake boss and egg tarts became one about a super flaky concoction known as Sfagliatelle, a.k.a. the Lobster Tail, that’s been injected with a flavoured cream.

Because, you know, how else would it be filled?

Sydney Food Blog Review of Pasticceria Tamborrino, Five Dock: Chantilly Cream Lobster Tail and Nutella Mini Lobster Tail


I’d never tried it, and I barely had time to register the shocked looks on Simon’s and Christine’s faces before I was being ushered into the car and toward Pasticceria Tamborrino, where I hear that their Lobster Tails are legit.

Sydney Food Blog Review of Pasticceria Tamborrino, Five Dock: Lobster Tail with Chantilly Cream

And I may not know about what makes a legit Lobster Tail, but I must say that these ARE THE WORK OF THE DEVIL. They were put there to condemn you to a hell of always having the lobster-tail-cravings, because once you go lobster tail, you never go back. Pastry that shatters with every bite only to give way to a velvety, vanilla scented, sweetened cream.

Life will never be the same again.

Damn you Simon and Christine. Damn you.

This meal was independently paid for.
Pasticceria Tamborrino
75 Great North Road
Five Dock, Sydney, NSW
Phone: 02 9712 1461

Pasticceria Tamborrino Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Burrata ta ta ta…Paesanella Food Emporium

Sydney Food Blog Review of Paesanella, Haberfield: Burrata

I know that there’s always been a stereotype of the lactose-intolerant Asian. Apparently the Asians who aren’t lactose intolerant have some kind of genetic mutation that allows them to enjoy dairy products.

So…I must be the newest member of X-men! Because I do so love my cheese.

Sydney Food Blog Review of Paesanella, Haberfield: Burrata

Ever since I was first introduced to the glorious creamy mess that is Burrata by my cool aunt in Singapore, I’ve been obsessed. Absolutely, head-over-heels I-would-stalk-it-if-it-were-a-celebrity kind of obsessed.

But it’s just so hard to get a good one, especially when the one that constituted my initiation was one that was flown in fresh from Italy. Very hard to beat.

Well guess what? I FOUND ONE! Christine and I were talking about Burrata and doing our best Homer-Simpson-dreaming-about-doughnuts impressions one day, and Simon had the very helpful but dangerous suggestion that we try Paesanella.

Let me just say that the Burrata from this place is pretty legit. Stretchy mozzarella stretched into a ball is further filled with salted cream, leading to this explosion of delicious cheese. And $10 got us a ball large enough for 3 people to share as an entree, especially when paired with a homemade truffle crouton, balsamic glaze, cherry tomato, shaved eschallot salad. So much yum in so few mouthfuls.

And really, how can you resist any place that calls itself a ‘food emporium’? Makes me just want to walk in and yell, “DELIGHT ME! DELIGHT ME WITH YOUR CHEESE!!!”

This meal was independently paid for.
Paesanella Food Emporium
150-152 Marrickville Road
Marrickville, Sydney, NSW
Phone: 02 9519 6181

Paesanella Food Emporium Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

The Most Important Meal of the Day is..? Criniti’s, Woolloomoloo

Sydney Food Blog Review of Criniti's, Woolloomoloo

I have something I need to admit. I, Tammi, am a breakfast skipper. Now DON’T JUDGE ME. I just never seem to wake up hungry, and I like to do all my eating in the later part of the day. And after it became acceptable to eat bacon at any time of the day, the morning meal just didn’t seem so special anymore.

But when someone offers you ribs at breakfast? Why, don’t mind if I do.

Sydney Food Blog Review of Criniti's, Woolloomoloo: Italiano, $19Italiano, $19

I’ve always associated Criniti’s with nighttime food: long ass pizzas, huge platters of pasta and antipasto, tipsy people hoeing right in…so when I got the invite to have breakfast by the water, I was absolutely intrigued.

Was the stigma of having pizza for breakfast finally going to be lifted?

Well, not quite.

They did do some massive breakfast platters, and The Italiano, $19, provided an absolute bounty salty meats in the form of bacon, prosciutto, porchetta, sausages…with some grilled tomato and crumbed eggplant, because veggies. It was quite enjoyable with chilli on the side, and if you weren’t an absolute glutton like I am, it would have been plenty for two.

Sydney Food Blog Review of Criniti's, Woolloomoloo: Rustico (3 egg Omelette), $14Rustico (3 egg Omelette), $14

The Rustico, $14, was a 3 egg omelette that is slightly less impressive. The eggs came out just a touch on the dry side, and when had next to the punchy, salty flavours of the other dishes, it fell on the flat side of bland.

Sydney Food Blog Review of Criniti's, Woolloomoloo: Uncle Cosimo, $19Uncle Cosimo, $19

But I’ve promised ribs, and ribs I will deliver. The Uncle Cosimo, $19, (which is a pretty gangsta name, I think), has fried eggs with braised pork ribs, and a tomato based sauce/stew in a cast iron pan. The pork ribs and tomato sauce were quite sweet, which totally makes me happy because I like me some sweet/savoury combos. I would have been totally happier if the eggs were baked into the tomato sauce, but hey, why nitpick?

The thing is, Criniti’s has never made themselves out to be the very height of haute cuisine. They just want to provide a decent dining experience with food that doesn’t take itself too seriously, a lovely ambience, and friendly service. And they’ve definitely achieved that.

And bonus points that the breakfasts aren’t too busy, which just makes a lazy brunch bu the water all that much better.

Insatiable Munchies dined as guests of Criniti’s.
Shop 2, 6 Cowper Wharf Road
Wooloomooloo, Sydney, NSW
Phone: 1300 274 648

Click to add a blog post for Criniti's on Zomato

When the moon hits your eye: Pizza Design Co., Parramatta

Review of Pizza Design Co., Parramatta | Sydney Food Blog by Tammi Kwok

Subway has copped a LOT of crap, but you know what? They’ve got a good system going. People get to pick what they want for a single price point, and it’s quick and easy. The illusion of choice, without too much going on.

If only life was that easy.

Now what if you can apply a system like that to, say, pizza?

Review of Pizza Design Co, Parramatta

Pizza Design Co. in Parramatta has applied just such a system. The steps are simple: pick your base, sauce, cheese, toppings, and you’re all done! $15, and see you later.

Exactly like Subway, without the cookie at the end.

Review of Pizza Design Co, Parramatta

The pizza was actually surprisingly good. There’s something to be said about things hot from the oven, but even then, the base was a great chewy texture, the toppings light and relatively fresh, and it was a fairly good portion for $15. The service was polite and fast, and by people who generally look happy to be there.

We all know that this isn’t some top notch gourmet experience, but really, you weren’t expecting that were you? I know I wasn’t, and I was pleasantly surprised.

Not bad. Not too bad at all.

This meal was independently paid for.
Pizza Design Co.
279 – 281 Church Street
Parramatta NSW 2150
Phone: 02 9687 6667

Click to add a blog post for Pizza Design Co. on Zomato

The Honest Kitchen, Eastwood

Eastwood is known to be quite an Asian neighbourhood, which is why I was quite surprised to find that a little Italian eatery had opened up in the basement of the Aldi building. Italian? In Eastwood? Now this, I’ve gotta see.
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400 Gradi Cinchetti, Brunswick East

Pizza. It’s as varied in Italy as noodles are in Asia. But the more pizza I eat around Australia, the more it seems that the most common type of pizza served in Australia was of the wood fired, wafer thin crust variety.

So it was uber cool for me to get an education about true Naples style pizza from the owner of 400 Gradi and pizza champion, Johnny Di Francesco.
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Panini Con Polpette (Meatball Sandwich with Chipotle Mayo)

A basic red sauce is so versatile. Just tweaking aromatics and spices can turn it into a sauce from almost any culture. And it’s not only a culinary chameleon, it’s also freezer friendly!

So when I had a tub of red sauce defrosting in my fridge, I just knew that I had to do something different with it – I had already made lasagne and spaghetti bolognese, so what about meatballs?

Given that we had been eating a lot of pasta, I knew that I didn’t want to have meatballs over more pasta. So, inspired by the smells coming from the local bakery, we decided that meatball subs were in order!

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Cafe Di Stasio, St Kilda

Omelette D’Aragosta (Crayfish Omelette), $33

There are plenty of must-eat places in Melbourne when you ask for recommendations, ranging from the trendy (like Golden Fields), to the established (like Flower Drum). And one such establishment that is a favourite amongst the up market crowd is Cafe Di Stasio, known for its attention to detail and modern style of Italian cooking.

So I made a reservation and off we went, to the trendy neighbourhood of St Kilda.

We ordered the Crayfish Omelette (pictured above) to start. Chunks of crayfish were dense in a juicy and light egg mixture, covered in a decadent bisque sauce. Crusty toasted bread was provided to mop up all the errant juices. While thoroughly enjoyable, this particular omelette wasn’t quite what I imagined an omelette to be – I had thought to have creamy egg curds (much like set scrambled eggs) encasing moist crayfish meat. If I were after an omelette, I would’ve thought the eggs in this dish to be overcooked. The bisque sauce, however, more than made up for anything that wasn’t quite perfect in this dish, and left us cleaning the plates using our bread with as much elegance as we can muster.

We ordered the pasta of the day – recommended by our waiter – which was Angel hair pasta with crab meat.

Pasta of the Day – Angelhair pasta with crabmeat, $33

As we had ordered everything to share, the kitchen had thoughtfully split the pasta into two portions for us. Flecks of crab meat peeked out at us through delicate strands of what looked to be fresh house-made pasta, and the deep seafood flavour was set off by a fruity olive oil. Light and delicate, this dish showed finesse in execution, which again challenged my expectations, since I was expecting an explosion of citrus and chilli, for some reason. The flavours in this dish were subtle, and showed off the lovely texture of the pasta. A pinch of sea salt lifted the whole dish, and it proved to be quite satisfying when we had our last mouthful.

Anitra Arrosta Con Gnochetti Di Farina (Roast Duckling with Spatzli), $37

Our share plates were changed between courses and out came the roast duckling with its mound of spatzli. Our waiter poured over the jus with a flourish, and the first pierce of my fork came up promising – the meat fell off the bone. The spatzli – which is a Germanic noodle/dumpling that is first cooked in boiling water, then – in my experience – sautéed with butter and served with a saucy meat dish. This particular spatzli was finished with olive oil, not butter, and so provided a fruity note to accompany the duck.

My first bite into the thigh of the duckling told me that maybe I needed more gravy than was provided. It was tender, but stringy, and needed pieces of the skin and swabs of gravy to provide flavour and moisture. Not as well executed as the previous two dishes, and left us wondering whether maybe we should have stuck to the seafood options.

IMG_9962Tira Mi Su, $16.50

Dessert was ordered to round out the meal and the Tiramisu – which means ‘pick me up – seemed like an appropriate option to finish an Italian lunch. Out came a little square set in the middle of a large plate, and the liquor soaked sponge squished slightly as I pressed my fork in. In that first bite I got the light, creamy texture of the mascarpone cream…and the sharp finish of the Strega and coffee soaked sponge. It got to a point where it felt like all I could taste was booze, and we eventually had to leave the bottom layer of sponge uneaten in order to restore balance to our palate.

In all the food had its high and its lows, but for the price tag I would’ve expected slightly more consistency in execution. The service – executed by waiters in starched white coats that made all the appropriate actions – was slightly intimidating, as they hovered over you with sombre expressions while you made your choices. The atmosphere made sense – a quick look around at the lunch crowd told us that there were no customers under 40 – but it did feel a little bit ‘stiff upper lip’ for trendy and vibrant St Kilda.

We ate at:
Cafe Di Stasio
(03) 9525 3999
31 Fitzroy St, St Kilda VIC 3182

Café Di Stasio on Urbanspoon

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