La Rosa, The Strand – Sydney CBD

Bianca: There’s something special about the upper levels of the QVB and Strand Arcade in Sydney’s CBD. Guaranteed you walk through the main thoroughfare of both these buildings and steal less than a seconds glance skywards. But there is a myriad of treasures to be found. I had a SFF screening of UNA booked in and thought I’d treat the mother to a night out and a movie. 5 pm on a Friday night and we were the first to be seated.

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Staff were perfunctory but a little slow on the uptake, particularly as we were in a bit of a rush. We started with the Misto di Olive -Sicilian green olives, black olive puree, Pendolino olive oil & house made pane di casa $10.70. There’s a lot to like here, the tapenade, in particular, was rich and full flavoured, I wasn’t a fan of the olives, just lacking the punch and meatiness of a good green olive. The bread was tasty but in the spirit of all things NOT Italian, lacked the generosity of a good Italian spread. I like my bread and butter/oil but this was far too small a portion for the tapenade and oil.

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Instantly catching my eyes were the Alto Adige Style Bread Dumplings – spinach, Gruyere, grana padano and burnt sage butter $19.60. Alto Adige, refers to a region in Italy bordering Switzerland and Austria. Known for their hearty peasant-style dishes. And here, the perfect example, some fairly basic ingredients turned to quite possibly our favourite dish on the night.

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Pasta was the main draw card, mum opting for the Capellini – Angel hair pasta, braised free range chicken & rosemary sauce $22.70 (entree). Tasty but lacking that wow factor, the rosemary was at the forefront. This probably wouldn’t be my first choice.

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When Alex realised I had made a booking at La Rosa he immediately told me to order this dish. As fate would have it, he found himself in the city and ended up coming along. So I got the best of many worlds – he had the Canneloni – w/butternut pumpkin, mustard fruit & ricotta (main) $37. Filled with a sweet pumpkin and ricotta filling and accented by a burnt butter and sage sauce.

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But my eyes were for the Lasagne al fondo e finferli – pork & veal w/ truffled chanterelle fondo bruno (main) $39.75. A punchy well-developed tomato sugo, the bechamel lingering in the background. The best bit of any lasagne is the crispy top, it’s always what I go straight for. How did it stack up to the Nonni’s? Good but I don’t think anything quite compares your grandparents fresh out of the oven lasagne al forno.  One thing to commend, was the flavour and texture of the pasta throughout all 3 dishes.

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The menus seem to have changed in the last two weeks since our visit and these are no longer available. Our standout was the Millefoglie Di Cioccolato – Chocolate & hazelnut with vanilla cream & burnt pear $15.60. Shattering the biscuit and scooping every element onto the spoon, we were rewarded with a crispy nutty biscuit, a thick vanilla & chocolate cream, the chocolate smear adorning the plate was bitter and rich and the pear, tying it all together.

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I have a big weakness for Ricotta cheesecakes and the Torta di Ricotta – Neapolitan vanilla & pineapple torte $14.90 was an interesting one. A cross between a regular ricotta cheesecake and a pastiera. Without the wheat berries (grain). The flavour was familiar but I’d be lying if I said the texture and flavour of the pine nuts weren’t a little off-putting. And some crunch, the sugar shard.

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The food was tasty, traditional and familiar Italian flavours. I could bring my Nonno & Nonna here and they would love it. I’d have to get them into the city first that is.

Bianca

La Rosa The Strand Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Author: forfoodssake

A Sydney food blog.

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