Monday, June 18, 2012

Offers on the table: Table for 20

With about two years' offer and deal buying experience under my belt now (predominantly restaurant offers), I think I'm a confirmed fan even though I know some restaurateurs wouldn't touch them with a ten foot pole.

I've mostly had good experiences, save for a few refund problems with certain sites I now no longer use, and found there to be generally more issues with deals outside of restaurant ones.

Flexibility appears to be the one pressure point for all involved, and it's this factor that generally decides whether the voucher experience is pleasant or otherwise.

Table setting at Table for 20, Campbell Street, Surry Hills
I was at Table for 20 courtesy of a Lime&Tonic voucher recently and really only there because the restaurant was, thankfully, flexible with certain booking details.

Not being my first time experiencing the unique, communal-style "neighbourhood dining", I knew the drill and was looking forward to some excellent Italian fare - food which is said to remind owner Michael Fantuz of his childhood dinners.

Tables set  for 20
The concept is the brainchild of Fantuz, who has recently also opened Buffalo Dining Club in Darlinghurst.

The idea behind Table for 20 is to bring people back to eating as a social and festive event; sharing space, platters, conversation and maybe even your BYO wine and a few laughs. Some of the proceeds from each night also go towards charitable organisation, Hope Street.

So while groups can book out a section, table or indeed, all 40 seats; most people turn up in couples or small groups and seated next to strangers, are encouraged to talk and serve each other food over three shared courses, which is really a most intimate action.

Orecchiette with lentils, pine nuts and mascapone
We started a bit after 8pm with some seriously good bread rolls with olive oil and salt, and moved on to a long share platter of orecchiette pasta as the first course.

In a word, the pasta was sublime. Everything was just right: the textures, flavours and seasoning. The orecchiette (Italian for little ears) had the most delectable chewiness, tossed through with firm lentils, toasted pine nuts, creamy mascarpone cheese and plenty of fresh parsley.

It was the second time I've had a pasta dish with legumes (both times at Table for 20) and I've been bowled over both times.

Roasted beef fillet with peperonata sauce
After a few helpings of the pasta entreé, the generosity of the main was a bit intimidating, even with an appropriate pause between courses.

Another long platter brought out thick hunks of mostly tender, roasted beef fillet that were still pink and juicy in the middle, topped with a chunky peperonata sauce featuring squares of capsicum.

Salad of butter beans, fennel, tomato, mixed leaves, sesame
The main course was served with roasted potatoes and a fresh salad featuring butter beans and raw fennel, which was all together unique, healthy and delicious. There was also something pretty special in the dressing they use on the salad which made eating vegetables and legumes particularly joyous.

Amaretto Disaronno cheesecake
While the two savoury courses are more than sufficient to satisfy a hearty appetite, my experience reminded me not to go overboard before dessert.

Some of the most amazing sweets come out of the Table for 20 kitchen in whole cake form, which makes dishing it out at the table as festive as a birthday celebration.

Amaretto Disaronno cheesecake slices
The amaretto cheesecake did not disappoint. Baked with a biscuit base, the lightly creamy cheesecake was completely swoon-worthy with vanilla tones, and deserving of second and third helpings - if only I didn't have second and third helpings of the pasta earlier.

At this point a doggie bag would have come in handy, but I resisted putting unwrapped cheesecake in my handbag. Table for 20 has definitely been one of the better deal offers I've experienced and I wouldn't hesitate to return for either the pasta or dessert alone - and it appears the offer still stands.

Food, booze and shoes received $50 credit from Lime&Tonic, and used it towards the Table for 20 offer.

Table For 20 on Urbanspoon


MissPiggy said...

I've walked past here before when a dinner is in full swing and it looks like the biggest, most fun dinner party!

gaby @ lateraleating said...

I've been wanting to try this place for a couple of years, but because I didn't read that many blogger reviews I wasn't sure. Looks good, but I'd like being able to choose what to eat.

JB said...

This place has been on my To Visit list for ages! The food looks awesome!

Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella said...

I have had mixed experiences with vouchers so I don't really buy them anymore. But they are usually related to spa and beauty places rather than restaurants. The pasta here sounds wonderful and I love seeing whole cakes-as you say, it's like a birthday!

SarahKate (Mi Casa-Su Casa) said...

Lovely. I love the concept behind Table for 20. There's something wonderful about meeting new people over a delicious dinner.

Vivian - vxdollface said...

I've been wondering about this restaurant for a while but I'm always too shy to go for a communal dining session. The spread looks great though

tastyfoodsnaps said...

that cheesecake served on a board looks awesome! looks creamy :)

Tina said...

Hi MissPiggy - It kind of is like that! Without having to do any cooking or cleaning!

Hi gaby - Yeah there's not really a choice admittedly, so it's best if you're a eat-anything kind of person. That said, they don't do anything too left of centre.

Hi JB - Indeed, it is a must-do, if only just for the amazing food!

Hi Lorraine - There's also something about passing platters of food to strangers. It's all so intimate.

Hi SarahKate - Sure is, plus gorgeous eats and BYO drinks - win win win!

Hi Vivian - It is superb, simple food and to be honest, you only really meet/talk to those adjacent and perhaps across. No need to talk to 40 strangers... ;) Otherwise, you can go with your own group too.

Hi tastyfoodsnaps - One of the most delicious cheesecakes ever! Last time I was at Table for 20 they did a pear and ricotta cake - that was the best ever!


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