In the heart of the CBD, we find ourselves tucked away in one of my favourite restaurants in Sydney – Pendolino.
Awarded a “One Hat’ out of a possible Three Hats from the Sydney Morning Herald Good Food Guide, I am always shell shocked as to why Pendolino is only given the one.
Being the veteran that I am, I became quite vocal of what we should order. I go in and advocate that we must try the beef carpaccio and the hand made ravioli with burnt butter sage sauce.
The first thing that immediately impresses upon you is the beautiful scent of truffles when the beef carpaccio is placed in front you. To taste every single morsel of flesh is phenomenal with its melt in your mouth texture. It is so tender it doesn’t even require so much as a chew, only a gentle slip into your mouth. The aromatic notes of the truffle, the saltiness of the testun barola cheese and soft crunch of the rocket cress deliver a delicious and sensory overload.
This is a dish I simply can not do without. The hand made ravioli is expertly tended to and made to perfection. Resulting in the perfect thinness of pasta that is tightly wrapped around a delicious filling of spinach, parmigiano reggiano, gruyere, buffalo mozzarella.
The filling is beautifully plump and strikes the perfect balance between the mixture of cheese and the burnt butter and sage sauce. And the experience of the buttered sage leaves disintegrating along the roof of your tongue feels incredible.
My sister chose the black squid ink risotto with grilled baby squid, micro chard and fermented anchovy sauce. Despite its delightful good looks, we found the dish was over-seasoned. I was advised this was due to the fermented anchovy sauce. Or the addition of parmesan, perhaps? Considered sacrilege of any Italian seafood dish, somehow this worked like magic.
Against all odds, I rather enjoyed this dish and the workmanship was beyond question. Risotto was al dente and the sauce deliciously creamy if you could move past the salt. I personally didn’t mind the salty touch but it seems that my sister couldn’t quite get past it herself.
The chitarra spaghetti with barramundi and wild prawns was a simple yet satisfying dish. The delicate flavours of the chilli, capers, garlic and pinto grigio allowed the inherent seafood flavours to come through. Perfect if you are after a straight shooter.
Vanilla bean and goats curd bavarese with a textured strawberry salad and wild strawberry consomme is simply gorgeous. The bavarese holds its own and is deceptively airy and light. It projects a beautiful tang against the sweetness of the consomme and acidity of the strawberry salad.
The fruit sorbets were surprisingly outstanding. We taste tested the blueberry, raspberry and passionfruit flavours and we were unanimously bowled over by the intensity and richness in its flavour.
The chocolate hazelnut pudding promised the warm gooey centre every chocolate fondant should hold while the almond milk semifreddo was described by my sister as, “thrillingly good“.
Again, Pendolino does not disappoint. It has the indelible mark of quality produce and the delicate craftsmanship that delivers. Its clearly not hard to see why, it is one of my favourite places to dine at.
Welcome to Pendolino, for honest Italian food at its finest.
Level 2, The Strand Arcade, 412-414 George St
Sydney, NSW 2000