Italian Restaurant Sydney - Fine Dining - Our Manly Restaurant Reviews
Ormeggio at The Spit Review
One of Sydney's best restaurants, Ormeggio is perched atop the beautiful waters of Middle Harbour, a stunning showcase for chef and owner Alessandro Pavoni's modern Italian cuisine.
where: D'Albora Marinas, The Spit, Mosman 2088
phone: (02) 9969 4088
Dinner - Wednesday to Saturday 6pm-10pm, Sunday 6pm-9pm
Lunch - Friday to Sunday 12pm-3pm
KIOSK OPENING HOURS:
Wednesday - Sunday 10am to 3pm
email bookings: firstname.lastname@example.org
Reviewer - Danny 'Taste-Bud' Gray
For Northern Beaches folks the Spit isn't an area too many of us are fond of, being one of the most severe traffic bottlenecks in the country.
However, there's more to The Spit than just a poorly planned bridge. Aside from the spectacular scenery it is home to one of this city's best restaurants. Perched right over the beautiful waters of Middle Harbour, Ormeggio is a stunning setting for chef/owner Alessandro Pavoni to showcase his mastery of Italian cuisine and modern gastronomy. So come and bask in the picturesque glory of the spit where the only thing more impressive than the view is the experience awaiting you at Ormeggio, just watch out for peak hour.
Chef and owner Alessandro Pavoni
Lombardy-born chef Alessandro Pavoni has an impressive resume, boasting some of the finest restaurants in the world and tutelage from internationally acclaimed chefs. Ormeggio is the culmination of a successful career in the kitchen and the first restaurant launched under his own banner. Pavoni has set out to impress with his modern Italian eatery, and that is exactly what he's doing. Rewarded with a chef-hat by the Australian Good Food Guide and selected for the World Chef Showcase at the Crave Food Festival in October, Alessandro has certainly made a splash with his waterside restaurant.
Beautifully Understated and Immaculate Setting
Walking through the marina past boats and jet skis towards Ormeggio is definitely a unique thoroughfare to a fine dining destination. Once you reach the entrance the fit-out does not fail to impress. With gorgeous wood tones contrasted with crisp white linen the dining room is beautifully understated and immaculate. The lighting is warm and moody but bright enough to enjoy the surroundings and read the extensive wine-list. Dining at night I can only imagine the stunning views you would enjoy over the waters of Middle Harbour during the lunch service.
Assagini - Squid Ink Rice Chips with Scallops and Lemon Powder
Before we begin our gastronomic adventure our waiter Paolo introduces himself and gives us the rundown of the evening, which is a four course degustation with matched wines. Before we get started the kitchen warms up our taste buds with a delicate Assagini - squid ink rice chips with scallops and lemon powder. The rice chip is a stark black colour with the texture reminiscent of a prawn cracker which is perfectly offset with the white, silky scallop.
The flavours are fresh and delicate, with a glass of the NV Il Colle '46° Parallelo' Prosecco washing it down in fine fashion. Fresh bread arrives on a piece of slate - house-made sourdough with freshly churned butter and salt. You know you're in for a great dinner when even the bread is impressive!
The first course is calamari with macadamia, tapioca and salmon roe, the presentation is beautiful and the flavours are spot on. The calamari is extremely tender and well complimented by the tapioca which is cooked in a calamari stock. Paired with the shaved macadamia and salmon roe the added texture makes for an exciting dish and excellent first course. The wine accompanying this course is the 2010 Villa Bianchi Verdicchio, a variety of wine commonly paired with seafood in Italy, its fruity and dry characteristics make it well suited to the calamari.
Next up is the hand-made Agnolotti filled with buffalo mozzarella and ricotta with braised onions, mushroom powder and walnuts. Like a cross between ravioli and tortellini the Agnolotti is perfectly cooked and well presented.
The creamy buffalo and salty ricotta work so well together to create a rich and buttery flavour which is out of this world! The walnuts add another dimension of flavour and a satisfying crunchiness. If only it wasn't such a nice restaurant, I'd lick the plate clean! I couldn't continue without mentioning the wine which came with this dish, 2010 Mazzolino Blanc Chardonnay.
Imported specifically for Ormeggio you'd have a hard time finding it anywhere else which is a shame because it is stunning. Hands-down the best Chardonnay I've ever tasted. Oaky and a little sweet and buttery, not only did it suit the food it added a whole new level of enjoyment to the second-course.
Impressive Food, Wine and Service
Now half-way through the degustation I'm already very impressed with food, wine and service. The next course didn't disappoint either, a 72-hour sous vide Blackmore Wagyu brisket finished on the chargrill with pickled artichoke, Spanish onion pureé and peppery herbs. This dish has an unmistakable smoky aroma. The meat is beautifully tender and flavoursome thanks to the 72-hour cooking process. There is something amazing about eating a steak that had begun cooking well before you even had even made the reservation. There is no denying the quality of beef that David Blackmore is producing, the supplier for most of the top restaurants in Sydney. It also highlights Alessandro's passion for premium local produce. This dish in its entirety is great almost like a modern interpretation of a Sunday roast. The sous vide lets the meat retain its fat and juices creating an incredible flavour and consistency. The 2006 Farr Rising Shiraz from Geelong was the Sommelier's choice to compliment the beef. It's easy to see why, with its smoky full-bodied flavours it's a perfect match.
Dessert at Ormeggio 'Flavours of Autumn'
Finally dessert is upon us, entitled 'Flavours of Autumn' this dish utilises some unusual ingredients, including pumpkin, which is becoming increasingly popular as a dessert ingredient at fine dining restaurants.
Serve it up sweetened with some balsamic vinegar gelato and chestnut cream and you've got a wonderfully unusual dessert. Anyone who has had trouble feeding their kids pumpkin - might I suggest trying this method! As expected the Rallo 'Normanno' Zibibbo washed the dessert down well and wrapped up the four courses nicely.
As a final sweet footnote to the meal we are served chocolate covered popcorn, which is a fun and tasty way to end a great meal. This food is Italian like you've never seen; it's so refreshing to see modern interpretations of a cuisine that is occasionally bogged down by tradition. This isn't Italian like mama used to make but it certainly exudes the flavours and aromas of a kitchen operating with skill, love and passion.
Degustation Menu Options
There are numerous options for those dining at Ormeggio, a four and six course degustation or alternatively à la carte menu as well. While I could never go past the degustation having à la carte option certainly makes things a lot more flexible. The prices are actually great value with the four-course deg costing $75 and the six-course $95 per person with matched wines costing $50 and $60 respectively. There is even more great value to be had with a dinner promotion on Sundays which only set you back $45 for the four-course and $65 for the six-course. That has to be the best value degustation anywhere! At lunch time on Fridays and Saturdays you can get 3-courses with a glass of wine for $59 or $65 for four with the stunning view thrown in for free! So there is little excuse why you can't get down to Ormeggio.
It's easy to see why this little gem on the North Shore has earned a chef's hat the last two years running. Everything is so polished and professional, the whole operation is a credit to Pavoni and his team. I don't need to tell you what a great chef Alessandro is or about his tireless charity work or the fact that he has had to accomplish all that he has with numerous serious health issues because that's not why you should come and dine here.
You should dine here because the food is extraordinary, the wine is as unique as it is delicious and the entire experience will be something special and that's what will bring you back again and again. But hey you don't feel like driving to the Spit? Well that's no excuse because Alessandro has another restaurant above the famed Food-on-5 in the CBD Westfield called Spiedo and it's bloody fantastic too!
The Good – Beautiful setting, Stunning food and wine, Impeccable service.
The Bad – Lunch is only Friday-Sunday.
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