Buon Ricordo, Paddington

Buon Ricordo - Truffle & egg pasta

“If any Sydney restaurant can boast a breakthrough dish of international acclaim,
then it would surely enhance the city’s claim to being a serious food destination.”

~ Chopinand, Co-author of ChopinandMysaucepan

~~~~~~~~O~~~~~~~~

The development of Sydney’s restaurant scene over the last 30 years has seen this city become a favourite food destination in the Asia Pacific region.

The abundance of fresh ingredients and people in the food industry have obviously played an important role in giving Sydney’s food and restaurant culture its vibrancy and excitement that it enjoys today.

However, I believe there is one very important criteria for a city to lay claim to being a “food destination” for food lovers. This criteria is specific dishes prepared by talented chefs that have tantalized the tastebuds of diners for many years. Over time, these dishes become synonymous with the chefs who created them and consequently an insignia of the restaurants. Ultimately, as these restaurants establish their reputation locally and abroad, the city becomes home to special dishes which entice food lovers from the world over to visit.

Thanks to these talented chefs, I can name at least six dishes that could be termed as “unique” to Sydney restaurants.

And tonight, I am going to taste one of them - fettuccine al tartufovofettuccine with cream, parmesan and fried truffle egg, the signature dish of Sydney’s Buon Ricordo.

Armando Percuoco of Ristorante Buon Ricordo

Armando Percuoco of Ristorante Buon Ricordo

At the helm of this iconic Italian restaurant in Sydney’s trendy Paddington is celebrity chef and owner  Armando Percuoco.

Opening its doors in 1987, Armando has gained a reputation of giving diners a taste of traditional Italy and also modern interpretations using the freshest of seasonal ingredients.

It is a definite rarity for any restaurant to be celebrating a 25-year anniversary and so doing in 2012, the restaurant must be doing something right.

Chef Armando worked in restaurants in Italy since the age of 14 beginning with the family restaurant in Naples.

He arrived in Australia in 1972 and worked with his father Mario, opening Arriverderci in East Sydney and later Pulcinella in Kings Cross. He has championed a menu that reflects the diversity and appeal that makes Italian one of the great cuisines of the world. The food ranges from the opulence of celebratory dishes to cucina povera or the “food of the poor”.

The restaurant certainly has a bit of an “old world” feel to it where waiters with white jackets attend to customers at the tables.

Lord Nelson Pale Ale $8.80

Lord Nelson Pale Ale $8.80

There are only two choices of beer and I opt for a Lord Nelson Pale Ale that is bold with a malty dry finish.

Table olive oil

Table olive oil

The wine list celebrates Italian wines ranging from northern, central to southern Italy and varietals that are rarely planted outside of the country. There is also a good range of Australian and American wines.

True to Italian style dining, there is olive oil and salt flakes on the table to go with the fresh sourdough.

We are seated in a beautiful dining room in the upper level of the restaurant that is adorned with artworks by some of Australia’s most notable artists.

After we place our orders, some complimentary bruschetta arrives. The combination of ripened truss tomatoes, fresh basil, garlic and extra virgin olive oil is truly one of my favourite Italian flavours.

The crunch of grilled sourdough is good enough to eat on its own let alone topped by spoonfuls of the beautiful tomatoes.

Gamberetti or deep fried school prawns with chilli oil $29.50

Gamberetti or deep fried school prawns with chilli oil $29.50

School prawns are definitely a current trend in many Sydney restaurants. A special deep fried school prawns is served with their heads removed. It is tasty and crisp with a good spicy hit from the chilli oil and an excellent complement for my beer too.

However, I find the portion size extremely small for $29.50 and I would definitely have preferred the prawns served with their heads left on. The true spirit of eating small deep fried prawns of this nature is to eat them whole, not to mention the best flavour of these prawns are found in their heads.

Coastal fishermen in the Mediterranean region and many parts of Europe are known to pick these small prawns straight from their fishing nets and popping them whole into the mouth, enjoying the sweet taste of live, raw prawns as a snack on their fishing boats.

I have tasted a couple of better interpretations of deep fried school prawns.

Pappardelle with pork and beef ragu $42.50

Pappardelle with pork and beef ragu $42.50

A pappardelle with pork and beef ragu is perfect for a cold winter evening. The pasta is daringly al dente and I love the flavour that freshly granted parmesan adds to this hearty dish.

The pork adds sweetness to the beef and tantalising as this pappardelle is, we are eagerly waiting for Buon Ricordo’s most famous dish. I am glad this pasta is served ahead of the fettuccine and I am certain the kitchen had something to do with not taking away the excitement of anticipation.

Fettuccine al tartufovo - signature dish of Buon Ricordo

Serving up the restaurant's most famous dish

Serving up the restaurant's most famous dish

The fettuccine al tortufovo must surely be the most popular item on the menu as every table around us seems to have ordered this dish. This pasta dish is also tossed and mixed at the table by the waiters.

According to Buon Ricordo’s website, this dish has been described by Italy’s Grazie magazine to be the “best pasta in the world”.

Signature dish: Fettuccine, cream and parmesan, topped with fried truffle egg $46.50

Signature dish: Fettuccine, cream and parmesan, topped with fried truffle egg (main portion size) $46.50

As there are three of us sharing all the dishes tonight, we take the waiter’s suggestion of ordering a main portion (regular portion price is $34.50). The fettuccine al tortufovo arrives topped with two fried truffle eggs where the yolk is wobbly in its bright orange.

Signature dish: Fettuccine, cream and parmesan, topped with fried truffle egg

Signature dish: Fettuccine, cream and parmesan, topped with fried truffle egg (main portion size) $46.50

The cream in this pasta is rich and thick and there is no shaved truffle if you are looking for it in this dish.

The strong and earthy truffle aromas wafting from this dish comes from truffle infused olive oil which have been drizzled on the eggs.

Freshly grated parmesan cheese is added to the pasta

Freshly grated parmesan cheese is added to the pasta

Our waiter grates a huge pile of parmesan that almost completely covers the two fried eggs.

With so much grated parmesan on this pasta, I am thinking one needs to be quite fond of cheese to enjoy this dish.

Pasta is tossed with the parmesan and fried egg

Pasta is tossed with the parmesan and fried egg

Then, our waiter breaks up the egg and mixes the parmesan and gooey egg yolk with the hot pasta which gently cooks the yolk a little more.

This is exciting because we can see how all the ingredients are absorbed into the pasta and I quietly wonder how many of this fettuccine have come out of Buon Ricordo’s kitchen over the years.

Signature dish: Fettuccine, cream and parmesan, topped with fried truffle egg

Signature dish: Fettuccine, cream and parmesan, topped with fried truffle egg

This is definitely the richest plate of fettuccine that I have ever tasted. The pasta has a good al dente bite and every mouthful is thick, creamy, cheesy with bold truffle flavours.

This dish is a beautiful celebration of pasta in a creamy style sauce.  Nevertheless, it is extremely heavy so it is great if you are hungry on a cold winter night.

Tasty as it is, I am unsure if I would order this dish in the heat of summer assuming such a famous dish remains on the menu during the summer months.

Dining room on the ground level at Buon Ricordo, Paddington

Dining room on the ground level at Buon Ricordo, Paddington

This pasta rounds off a hearty meal that we don’t even have room for dessert. I would be keen to try some of the more contemporary dishes on the menu when we return.

Cookbook by Armando Percuoco of Buon Ricordo

Cookbook by Armando Percuoco of Buon Ricordo

I suspect the reputation of the fettuccine al tortufovo is probably a key reason for Buon Ricordo first timers to book their initial visit. And if this is so, I am a strong believer every restaurant must have a signature dish that is so enticing, it lures diners back time and again.

If any Sydney restaurant can boast a breakthrough dish of international acclaim, then it would surely enhance a city’s claim to being a serious food destination.

Ristorante Buon Ricordo, Paddington

Ristorante Buon Ricordo, Paddington

So dear readers, do you think Sydney deserves its reputation as an enticing food destination and if so, what makes this city so special in terms of its food?

*Apologies for the darker than usual images in this blogpost as the lighting at our table in the restaurant was extremely dim.

Buon Ricordo
108 Boundary street, Paddington
New South Wales

Tel: +61 2 9360 6729

Opening hours: Dinner Tuesday to Saturday from 6pm, lunch Friday & Saturday from noon.

Buon Ricordo on Urbanspoon

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16 Responses to Buon Ricordo, Paddington

  1. Great post, I’m still yet to try that famed pasta dish! I’m an avid lover of cheese and anything creamy so that looks like the dish for me ^^”

  2. It’s good to see that some things never change, like truffled egg pasta and waiters in white jackets. Though, Sydney is a young city, so it also needs to move with the times and be more contemporary (we aren’t Rome, are we?). I still want to visit Buon Ricardo to have this signature dish – one day soon, hopefully :)

    • Chopinand says:

      Dear Bel,

      I do agree with you about the white jackets as they do look rather dated to me. Considering Sydney’s casual lifestyle and and so many new and modern restaurants offering a fresh approach to dining, I reckon it’s sooner rather than later that restaurants need to reinvent themselves to remain competitive and relevant.

  3. That truffle pasta dish looks divine. Did they used to shave truffle over it or am I mixing that up with another place?

  4. i’m generally not a fan of creamy pastas but i’m drooling over that truffle egg pasta dish

  5. Juliana says:

    Oh! The truffle egg on the pasta sounds and looks delicious…only can imagine the creamy texture of this pasta…
    Have a great week :D

  6. bams Kitchen says:

    Fettuccine, cream and parmesan, topped with fried truffle egg looks amazing and really creamy. Trying the signature dishes on the menu is always the best way to go. Great photos and I know that is hard to do in the dim lighting of the resturant. Take care, BAM

  7. Your thoughts on signature dishes were so true. Every major city has a dish it’s known for and sometimes it’s the sole impetus for traveling to that city. (I’d travel to Sydney to eat this dish if I could!) Somehow, I wasn’t expecting pasta as “the” dish that represents Sydney, but we live in a global, mobile world and pasta done exceptionally well is universally appealing.

  8. Amanda says:

    Oh my, this looks just amazing – and amazingly rich. I completely agree with you about not eating this in the warm weather. This is real comfort food.

  9. Raymund says:

    Wow that signature dish looks so creamy

  10. msihua says:

    I’m not sure I could finish that egg pasta dish! Looks so delicious but so rich as well!

  11. OH EM GEE!! I am positively drooling all over my keyboard. That truffle pasta loooks sensational. I love the lead up photos to the finale. I would have hoovered that down.
    I’m yet to try and I have to try it by this winter. But I have made it before! :)

  12. mr. C says:

    Great post. The pasta is definitely a highlight of the Sydney culinary scene. Your post brings back good memories.

  13. WHOAH.. wayyyyyyy too much cheese for me in that pasta dish! maybe this isn’t one for me but the boy would love it!

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