Monday, September 17, 2012

Pendolino: Swinging fortunes

As parts of the corporate world ride the same rollercoaster as some Sydney restaurants, I bet the changes in corporate entertaining and dining would make for an interesting and definitive trend line. Nonetheless, there will always be wining and dining of some sort.

The Strand’s Pendolino remains a corporate favourite while younger sibling, La Rosa Bar and Pizza at the other end of the building, takes a more casual approach to eats and service. Pendolino maintained its 1-hat status in this year's awards and remains the height of fine Italian dining in the CBD – all double-clothed tables and visits from the sommelier.

Complimentary bread from Pendolino, The Strand, Sydney
For dinner one weeknight, we were started on three varieties of helplessly irresistible bread with two house olive oils – a fruity extra virgin and another infused with lemon.

If I were able to resist even just one of the three breads – the white sourdough, olive-oil brushed schiacciata or the fennel seed topped sourdough – I might have fared better with my main meal and subsequently might have had space for dessert. Lesson learnt, but my, that is some good bread and oil.

Burrata Pugliese con insalata di rape rosse
I did still manage a mouthful of the cream-filled burrata mozzarella cheese, served as a salad with small beetroot cubes, radish and crispy bits of breadcrumbs.

 While I could easily eat mozzarella as is, the cabernet vinegar and Ligurian honey dressing added a sweet-sour flavour component of the salad.

Tonno tonnato
I had already settled on a main of pasta before walking into the restaurant, so the raw tuna of the melodically named tonno tonnato was the perfect light start, especially after three pieces of bread.

Tuna with tonnato tuna dressing was an interesting proposition, though the dressing was not so much fishy as lightly and appropriately acidic, while the abundance of Sicilian baby capers took care of saltiness.

Controfilletto di manzo al Sangiovese con pastanaca
There wasn’t too much of an Italian twist on the Tasmanian sirloin steak, but the parsnip puree served with it was as divine as it was unique.

The whole roasted pearl garlic, still in its skin, with kipfler potatoes gave it a posh Sunday roast feel, while the finishing touch was a sauce of Sangiovese red wine.

Tagliatelle di farro con ragu di guancia di maiale all’Aglianico
I tried not to fall off my seat when my pasta main arrived, unusually large but particularly so in a fine dining environment.

The abundant, softly braised pork belly pieces, and harder-to-differentiate pork cheek, almost comprised a meal in itself, not to mention the generous tangle of fresh tagliatelle, made from farro.

Rocket, parmesan and pear salad
It sadly didn’t take me long to reach carbohydrate fatigue with the pasta dish, even though a rich tomato and red wine ragu sauce is is one of my favourite things in the world with pasta. And even with a perfectly fresh, though pricey, rocket, parmesan and pear salad on the side.

As I pushed the pork around the plate, it was a sad realisation that I wouldn’t be having dessert with this dinner. An entrée and my main pasta selection, and not to forget the bread, was more than enough for an ample appetite. I’ll be sure to revisit this oversight on another visit to Pendolino if fortunes swing my way.

Pendolino on Urbanspoon


john@heneedsfood said...

No dessert? I guess when you've had enough, you've had enough. As good as the burrata sounds I prefer it served simply with nothing more than a drizzle of good olive oil and some seasoning. I've eaten at La Rosa but am still due for a Pendolino visit. One day!

chocolatesuze said...

mmm burrata but woah that pasta sounds amazing

Jacq said...

I'm never disappointed by the pasta at Pendolino but wow do you get a major food coma after eating there! Usually I can only manage to share a trio of sorbets for dessert because I'm so full!

priscilla @ said...

Pendolino is my favourite Italian restaurant!

The burata looks sensational and that pasta looks absolutely delicious! Pork bell-leh me!

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

The burata looks gorgeous! I love the silky freshness of burata and that one looks really fantastic. And the pasta... whoa!

joey@FoodiePop said...

A shame you couldn't fit in dessert as the one I had a while ago was so good.

Vivian - vxdollface said...

I finally tried Pendolino last week and I was blown away! Don't know what took me so long to try! Plus the sommelier matched our wine fabulously

Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella said...

I still remember the amazing ragu and papardelle dish that we had years ago. It was wonderful and you got one ball of marrow :)

Tina said...

Hi John - No room for dessert after that pasta! I like both venues but probably Pendolino a bit more... :)

Hi suze - Yep, but it was almost enough for two!

Hi Jacq - The pasta is a bit of a killer. Entree size next time!

Hi Priscilla - Definitely one of my favourites too!

Hi SarahKate - That unfortunately wasn't my dish so I only had a mouthful...

Hi joey - I hear there's some decent tiramisu somewhere on that level of the Strand...

Hi Vivian - Isn't it fab? A bit corporate at times but food is definitely fab.

Hi Lorraine - Aw, I don't remember seeing that... Love pappardelle and bone marrow!

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