Vanessa: Candelori’s has brought the flavours of Italy to the Sydney suburb of Smithfield for over 15 years. Since opening the doors in 1999, family owned and operated Candelori’s Ristorante e Bar has developed a loyal following due to its reputation for authentic Italian food and an unpretentious dining experience. Having recently undergone a multi-million dollar transformation under the direction of designers DS17, the restaurant is set to raise the bar on suburban dining and see a new wave of foodies gather to experience the next era for this stalwart Italian.
Myself and fellow For Food’s Sake companions, Bianca and Alex, were fortunate enough to attend the recent launch party where we were treated to a dazzling night of Candelori’s hospitality. The love, passion and pride that the family has for the restaurant is evident in the care that has been taken to create an open, inviting atmosphere the minute you walk through the doors.
I was impressed by just how big the restaurant is and the detail of the finishes that had been used in the fit-out. One of the stand-out features in the main dining room is the dramatic 17-metre marble-clad open kitchen, giving diners visual access to the heart of the action. I always love to see chefs at work and at Candelori’s they have certainly ensured that the “happenings” in the kitchen is all part of the experience.
As we mingled, we were treated to Burrata, an Italian cheese made from mozzarella and cream. It was literally made before us and was amazing! Not only was it wonderful to see it being made, it was so fresh it practically melted in the mouth.
We made our way to our seats, where we perused the sharing menu for the evening and my immediate thoughts were “I wish I wore looser clothing”. The spread that Candelori’s had in store for guests that evening was extensive and definitely aimed to showcase the best on offer.
The meal began with the Stuzzichini, which was a serve of crumbed, feta stuffed green olives and Mixed Bruschetta. From the bruschetta alone, I got the sense that Candelori’s sources high quality produce. The tomatoes were rich, ripe and drizzled with extra virgin olive oil – delicious!
The next courses for the evening, La Tavolata, saw roughly five or six dishes come out in fairly quick succession – sending us into a bit of a “food coma” by the end of it. Not that anyone was complaining of course!
We were treated to colourful Antipasto Boards featuring some of Italy’s finest produce including Prosciutto San Daniele, Parmeggiano Reggiano, Salami Casareccia and Wagyu Breasola – it was enjoyed and loved by us and those around us. We then tried the Octopus Carpaccio. Now I must add, I’m not a fan of octopus or carpaccio and I generally avoid ordering these items, but I was wowed by not only how thin the octopus was sliced but also the intense, citrus flavours of the dish. Definitely worth trying.
Zucchini flowers were up next – a general crowd pleaser although I felt that the ricotta filling lacked a bit of punch. The dish I had been waiting for followed and was delicious – Oven Baked Figs wrapped in San Daniele Prosciutto, lightly baked and drizzled with a Gorgonzola sauce. If you like this flavour combination then you cannot go past it on the menu – this was a definite stand out dish for me!
Although we were reaching max capacity on the eating front – we still had several dishes to go and were determined to try each of them. So up next was the Gamberi in Tegame, tiger prawns mixed with cherry tomatoes, garlic and chilli. The prawns for plump and juicy, but personally the sauce was not to my liking (but I am super spoilt by my when it comes to home-made sauce!)
Up next was the Gnocchi with Duck Ragu, whilst the use of duck in the sauce was a unique touch, the gnocchi was a little on the soft side so I swiftly moved on to the wood-fired pizza that was still piping hot from the oven. The Margherita Pizza D.O.C was just as it should be, minimal toppings of tomatoes, buffalo mozzarella, basil and a base that was cooked to perfection.
We very much appreciated the pacing between mains and dessert as it allowed us to “regenerate our taste buds” and prepare for the dolce of Crespelle. A perfectly cooked crepe, filled with fresh marscapone, drizzled with Belgium chocolate sauce and sprinkled with hazelnuts. This was sensational! Even though we had well and truly reached tipping point, we wholeheartedly enjoyed the final dish of the night.
We left Candelori’s feeling content and pleased to have experienced an evening at this beautiful restaurant which incorporates Italy’s finest produce in cleverly crafted dishes that can be enjoyed by many. We would definitely recommend a visit to sample the authenticity of the menu, take in the ambience and enjoy Candelori’s hospitality.
Vanessa, Bianca & Alex
Photos by Alex
For Food’s Sake was invited to the Candelori’s launch party by Wasamedia. All opinions however are independent.