Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Pendolino, Sydney CBD


As I mentioned previously, my food-loving cousin was in town recently and there is always a grand amount of eating to be done when he is around. During our lovely meal at Blancharu, he mentioned that he had booked a table for himself for lunch at Pendolino the next day and immediately asked me to join him when he found out I was free that day. Umm YES!! I've heard many good things about Pendolino but never had the chance to try it until now.

We arrive at the top of the Strand Arcade in the middle of lunch time and the restaurant is bustling on the outside, but only about half full on the inside. I'm surprised by how dark it is, but luckily not too dark that I can't take photos. Phew. We are in a bit of a hurry since my cousin has to catch a flight in a few hours, so he lets me choose the dishes while he picks a wine to go with it. We are given two different slices of bread and a lovely selection of olive oils to dip them in. It is all about the olive oil here.

I love them all, but both of us cannot stop tasting the lemon olive oil on the left, it is so amazingly zesty and sweet from the lemon. I was nervous about our order, to be honest I didn't work too well under pressure and pretty much pointed at the first things that caught my eye on the menu.

insalata di pomodoro e bietole con ricotta di capra ($22.00) - heirloom tomato and baby beetroot salad with lombardian goats ricotta
I can't resist the heirloom tomato salad, which always makes me remember the artwork of a dish that was the heirloom tomato salad at Becasse. This one may not look like the Becasse one but I am pleased with the combination of textures and flavours. The tomatoes are fat and sliced thin with a crunchy breadcrumb and pinenut topping, the baby beetroots are sweet with a slight tang and the goats ricotta is creamy and fairly strong. The goat cheese on its own it's a bit too intense for me but getting a bit of everything in your mouth makes it work successfully.

spaghetti chitarra con pesce d'acquadolce (entree size, $26.00) - chitarra spaghetti with barramundi, wild prawns, chilli, capers, garlic and pinot gris
This is one dish that my cousin definitely wanted to get, as it came high recommended from his wife who had visited the restaurant recently. She is spot on with her recommendation, it is lovely and one of the best seafood pastas I've ever had. The seafood was fresh and rich in flavour and the sauce was light and creamy.

pappardelle con ragu di vitella e maggiorana (entree, $19.00) - hand cut pappardelle with braised white rocks veal sauce, veal marrow and marjoram (with freshly shaved truffle)
I chose the pappardelle as it was one dish that I kept hearing about when people mentioned Pendolino. On this particular day it turns out they have having a special where you can choose to have freshly shaved truffle over any of their pastas. It is lovely with this dish, though I have to say I found the veal sauce incredibly rich and salty after having two relatively light dishes before this.

By the way, the serving that is pictured above is only HALF of an entree serving, since my cousin & I shared this dish. I couldn't believe how much pasta I got for half an entree, maybe they gave us extra because it looked like too little after they split a normal serving? I couldn't finish the pappardelle as it was so heavy and the sauce was so rich, but both of us were completely in love with the crisp, brown, crumbed veal marrow balls. Unfortunately we only got one each since we were sharing the entree, but I think the dish would have been even more successful if there had been more veal marrow and less pasta.

porchetta al finocchio ($37.00) - slow roasted fennel and rosemary scented pork belly with white bean and potato puree, fennel and blood orange salad, and blood orange extra virgin olive oil
The final dish that we share is a main, the slow roasted pork belly. Once again, the serving size pictured above is only half of a main. By this point I was already pretty full from all the bread and pasta, so I was glad we decided to share a main rather than get one each. The pork belly was lovely, with a very thin crispy top and moist middle. The bottom was a tad dry, but there was plenty of that lovely rich sauce down the bottom to help with that. I loved the fennel and blood orange salad, which came with a super thin, crunchy candied blood orange slice on top. I'm not a huge fan of white bean purees as I find them far too powdery, but this one worked quite well with the rich brown sauce below. The blood orange olive oil was intense in aroma and flavour.

Unfortunately we had taken longer than expected with our savoury food that we had to skip on the sweets. I didn't mind at all since I was more than satisfied from all the food we had already consumed. It was an indulgent, relaxing way to spend an afternoon, so I'm sending out big big thanks out to my wonderful cousin the Wine Guru, for treating me to this special lunch :)

Pendolino Ristorante
Shop 100, Level 2, The Strand Arcade

412-414 George Street, Sydney 2000

(02) 9231 6117


Lunch

Mon-Fri: Noon - 3pm

Dinner

Mon-Sat: 6pm - 10pm

Pendolino on Urbanspoon
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11 comments:

  1. I like Pendolino, went there once and always wanna go there again. You got that tasting plate of olive oil? I didn't have that when I went there..only 1 but have some olives.

    I had the pappardelle entree size and still think its more than enough to make me full. I like the softness but not too soft of the pasta and tasty ragu but my marrow was very very little..hehe

    I am keen to try their cafe outside too :)

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  2. that's great you had lunch there. i was recently there too and cafe meal of lasagne was nice. good to know the entree size is quite large as i hope to dine there and try those meals you mentioned.

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  3. oh the pork belly looks so good!!! I didn't realise there's a restaurant upstairs the strand arcade... but then again I don't usually look up whenever walking in that area. :D

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  4. Such a nice treat from your cousin! The pasta servings are huge for an entree, I could have that as my main and be happy!

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  5. Those dishes look yum! It's cool how they split the shared entrees and main really generously between two, i'm going to have to give it a shot one day!

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  6. Ahh yes I love Pendolino too! So glad that you ordered the ragu with papardelle. That set off quite a few pasta making fantasies within me!

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  7. I had my eyes fixed on the pork belly...hehehe!

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  8. Yummmm! Thanks for reviewing, always wanted to try Pendolino. Might have to book myself in very soon ;)

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  9. Bean Sprout's Cafe - Hmm maybe it's a new thing? I thought the tasting plate was a great idea though! The pasta serving was HUGE, both of us didn't finish and we were just sharing the entree!

    Simon - I'd love to try the cafe too, the lasagne looked yum. Wish I could go more often but I'm far too poor :(

    Trisha - I didn't know it was there either! It's not even listed in the store directory I think?

    Betty - I know, I felt lucky! Me too, at first I thought they had gotten confused and given us two entrees rather than just one!

    Chris - I was very impressed that they split up the dishes before bringing it to the table, it made it much easier to share and I think we may have gotten more that way ;)

    Lorraine - :D Oh if only I could have had more of those marrow balls!!

    Ellie - Hehe yup it was the first dish I noticed when I saw the mains and one of the first thing my cousin suggested we choose!

    Zina - No worries :) It's lovely but quite expensive!

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  10. Lucky thing - what a nice cousin. The pastas both sounded pretty yummy and fairly generous amount of shaved truffle I noticed..

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  11. :) He is quite awesome. They were very generous with the truffle, and it was lovely with the veal pasta! Much better than the one I had at blancharu.

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