Tag Archives: Italian

Criniti’s 10th birthday bash

Their motto is “Italians do it better” and this week, the Criniti’s family certainly proved this true. In celebration of their 10th birthday, Criniti’s pulled out all the stops for a bash that featured everything we love about the Italian approach to socialising; which is pretty much summed up by the adage that more is more.

Criniti's glitterati - the guest list certainly left us feeling a little star struck

Criniti’s glitterati – the guest list certainly left us feeling a little star struck

The guest list left us feeling a little star struck, with celebrities and us regular folk rolling up in their monochromatic best for the black and white dress code.

The ravishing Ricki-Lee Coulter

The ravishing Ricki-Lee Coulter

Of course, it wouldn’t be a party without champagne, and the fountains of Veuve Clicquot, along with a steady stream of cocktails and red, white and green canapes, went down a treat.

Rooster's star Anthony Minichiello

Rooster’s star Anthony Minichiello

Congratulations to the winner of the Criniti’s Facebook competition, who scored a trip to Rome, including flights, accommodation AND $2k worth of spending money. Bravo bellissimo!

Keep your eyes peeled for the video of the night on our YouTube page.

* Photography courtesy of www.jonesphoto.com.au

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Paddington’s best kept secret, La Scala on Jersey

It used to be said that any publicity is good publicity. After Darren Simpson, the former La Scala Head Chef, endorsed a burger range for fast-food giant KFC, I doubt restaurateur and owner, Dean Haritos would necessarily agree. But unlike many restaurants, La Scala is still standing and standing proud it is.

The decadent dining rooms at La Scala

Sitting snugly between the iconic Light Brigade Hotel and hatted restaurant Buzo Trattoria, the entrance to La Scala is discreet. Once inside, however, discreet isn’t a word that comes to mind. La Scala flamboyantly displays its Italian heritage with bold feature walls, gilted vintage mirrors, a funky cocktail bar and glass bowls of fresh produce such as bright red capsicums strewn around the various dining spaces. A chair installation protrudes from pin-striped walls and giant metal whisk lights spiral elegantly from the ceiling.

The restaurant’s design may be theatrical but the menu at La Scala on Jersey is deceptively modest, showcasing a down-to-earth display of classic Italian cooking. Ruben Martinez, who was formerly Darren’s Sous Chef, fronts the kitchen. Martinez, who has done time in some of Sydney’s most successful restaurants including Aqua Luna, La Sala and Barrenjoey House, has created a menu that implements organic cuts of meat, local seafood and house made sorbet and gelato.

La Scala’s signature dish: Brodetto Marchigiano – a classic fish stew from Marche

Keeping things local, we start with a small bowl of organic marinated Lakelands olives and a glass of 2006 Montose Omaggio (barbera) from Mudgee. While the wine list does predominantly feature Australian wines, there are also has a range of French, Portuguese, Spanish, Italian and New Zealand drops on offer. Salty, luscious and textural, the Lakelands olives are a standout, and I take note to return at a later date purely to get a second taste of these. Brodetto Marchigiano (a classic fish stew from Marche), is one of La Scala’s signature dishes. Aesthetically, it is a spectacular display of seafood, topped with a crusty slice of herb bread. The stock-based stew is overflowing with octopus, barramundi, mussels and squid, with strong hints of saffron and marjoram. The Italian lamb or “nose to tail eating”, comes highly recommended by wait staff and once it is placed in front of us, we can see why. The free-range lamb is sourced from the clover pastures of North Motton in North West Coast of Tasmania and the dish is served with different cuts every day. Another on my “must-return-for” list is the sformato, similar to a soufflé, it is a smooth blend of Jerusalem artichokes and hazelnuts.

From the food to the service, the restaurant runs like clockwork and Andrew Carson, the restaurant manager, is key to its success. The sophisticated private dining room, which seats up to 26 people comfortably, is an impressive location for corporate and private events. For larger occasions, the restaurant and bar can be exclusively hired for up to 200.

Anna Lisle

Read more about La Scala on Jersey here

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A culinary journey to Piedmont, Italy at The Star

I was so pleased to be invited to Stefano Manfredi’s restaurant Balla at The Star this week to experience a culinary trip to Piedmont in Italy. With my daughter Yolanda heading to Venice on a superyacht from France this week, this was at least one way of experiencing a vicarious trip to one of my favourite holiday destinations in the world.

On the second Tuesday of every month, celebrity Chef Stefano Manfredi and Balla Head Chef Gabriele Taddeucci, hold a four-course dinner with matching Italian wines to showcase a menu representing each of the various culinary regions of Italy.

The stunning interior of Balla

Tonight it was Piedmont, in northwest Italy, an area where most of its wines are produced on family estates which are made up of relatively small parcels of land. Each dish served throughout the evening featured the very exotic truffle, which is now found in all states of Australia.

Throughout the evening Stefano mingled with guests in the dining room, sharing his many cooking influences and his knowledge on truffles. We were all encouraged to touch and smell these exotic food items and, of course, we were treated to an exceptional four course dinner with matching wines.

Chef Stefano Manfredi presenting the Italian hazelnut and milk chocolate truffle dessert

We started off with antipasto which included vegetable puree with fontina and black truffle, followed by an entree of pasta, reggianno and black truffle. The main course, however, was the standout of the evening – Sella di coniglio al tartufo con lenticchie e cavolfiore gratinato – or, to us non-Italian speakers – rabbit loin with bread and truffle stuffing, braised lentils and Reggiano. This dish was simply spectacular. We finished the evening on a sweet note with an Italian hazelnut and milk chocolate truffle which, again, impressed.

Other regions of Italy explored on the menu in the following months at Bella include Lombardia, Sicily, Emilia Romanga, Puglia plus a special ‘Buon Natale’ traditional Christmas menu. Highly recommended for lovers of Italian cuisine and Italian wines. Phone +61 2 9657 9129 for reservations or click through here.

Maureen de Groot

Read more about Balla here

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