“You are on the Amalfi coast when sailboats are gently rocking in the water
and Al Pacino is having lunch with you”
The menu looks like it has enough choices to feed the entire Italian soccer squad, its coaches and perhaps their wives and girlfriends too.
Antipasti range from fresh Sydney rock oysters, caprese salad, grilled calamari and octopus, battered zucchini flowers to beef carpaccio and wood-fired Italian sausages. Then, there are ten types of salads, a dozen seafood choices, burgers, six risotti, twenty pasta, thirty four pizze, chicken & veal, chargrilled steaks, skewers and more.
So with a kind invitation from Sweaty Betty PR, Fiona and I are here to check out the menu of this restaurant which now boasts five outlets around Sydney.
It was only a couple of weeks ago that I was at Woolloomooloo Bay to check out another restaurant and it’s the same old story ~ Sydney has put on yet another awesome day and this spot does have a slight feel of being in the heart of the Mediterranean.
Since we are lunching with “Al Pacino” along the “Amalfi Coast”, I order a Villa Sandi Pinot Grigio from Veneto.
Pale yellow with gentle tropical fruits on the nose, this wine is medium bodied with a crisp and citrusy finish typical of this varietal.
It’s difficult to go past an icy cold beer on a sunny day like this and a crisp and refreshing Menabrea Birra is doing an excellent job.
Little golden brown white bait is battered and lightly fried.
Sitting on a bed of rocket leaves, they are crisp while soft inside. A creamy lemon aioli dip makes this dish delightful finger food for our wine and beer.
Big ripened figs are wrapped with prosciutto and topped with a creamy gorgonzola sauce and fresh herbs.
Lightly seared, the sweetness of soft, ripened figs is nicely balanced by the savoury ham and cheese sauce.
“Do you like cheese?” our host Francesco asks?
“We loooove cheese” I say.
He recommends a Quattro formaggi pizza made up of gorgonzola, mozzarella, parmigiano and scamorza cheese.
The gorgonzola and parmesan are pretty bold and this is how I like a quattro formaggi number.
Though beautiful cheese aromas are wafting and the crust is thin and crisp, I would have preferred more mozzarella because this pizza is a little short on stringy cheese action.
The flavours of the food are good but we can’t help a generous serve of fresh chilli in olive oil for more spice.
Risotto al funghi is one of my all time favourites especially if there is truffle oil too.
Criniti’s mushroom risotto is dominant in porcini taste while the arborio rice grains are fat and almost barley-like in texture.
Linguine Sophia Loren makes a bold entrance just like its namesake would in an Italian restaurant.
Our waiter rains finely grated parmesan over four halves of scampi sitting on a pile of pasta in baking foil.
The linguine is tossed with cherry tomatoes, garlic and olive oil, giving this dish its light and subtle flavour. The scampi could use a few pinches of salt but that is a minor issue.
After all, it’s not everyday that we have lunch at the Amalfi Coast, let alone with Al Pacino and Sophia Loren.
So dear readers, which movie star would you most like to have lunch with?
ChopinandMysaucepan dined courtesy of Sweaty Betty PR and Criniti’s. Prices are for readers information. All views and opinions on this blog post are our own.
Shop 2, 6 Cowper Wharf road
New South Wales
Tel: 1300 274 648
Opening hours: Lunch and dinner 7 days.
The car park related to the offer “Free parking @ Woolloomooloo” is the Domain Car Park located on St Mary’s road which is a 9 minutes walk from Criniti’s Woolloomooloo.