[invite] Bianca: We’re probably the worst people ever to visit an Italian restaurant. It’s rare that we find something better than the Nonni can whip up on a Sunday evening. We’ve really been spoilt, that’s for sure.
This was my second visit to Cipri Italian, the first, almost four years ago for a celebration dinner. I remember walking away equally impressed as my first visit. This is truly, one of the better Italian restaurants in Sydney.
Bread is mandatory in our household, so we spring for the House made Foccacia & Grain Bakery Sourdough -w/Placanica EVOO $1.50 per serve. I preferred the house focaccia, it’s always my preference for mopping up the oil as it gets into all the nooks.
We just adored the earthiness and the slightly sour notes of Gorgonzola in the Beetroot & Gorgonzola Arancini (4) $10.
Alex forever advocates for octopus whenever we see it on the menu, I think it takes him back to Greece / Croatia and many a hungover feed. Clearly upping our 1am Macca runs here in Australia. Polpo con patate e nduja – Chargrilled octopus, salt baked potatoes, roast tomato, nduja crumble, cauliflower foam $25 was perfectly cooked, all the elements together in a uniform bite was heaven. The octopus was incredibly tender, with a lovely outer char. I particularly enjoyed the concentrated salty/crunchy hit of the nduja crumble.
Both pasta dishes were DIVINE! Our biggest regret was ordering the entree sizes, there wasn’t enough to satisfy! Mezzelune alle castagne e porcini – Chestnut & porcini filled cocoa mezzelune, asparagus, truffled pecorino, toasted hazelnut $24 (entree size). I’ve never had mezzelune before but it is similar to ravioli. This is the epitome of a winter(y) pasta dish, the chestnut and porcini, familiar flavours but the cocoa, what an intriguing ingredient. Giving the pasta an interesting deep burgundy hue. The crispy sage, toasted hazelnuts and pecorino the tip of the iceberg.
But it only got better. Gnocchi alla zucca, con cavolo nero e pancetta – Panfried pumpkin gnocchi, cavolo nero, pancetta, parmesan fonduta,burnt butter, crushed amaretti $24 (entree size). Anything with burnt butter and sage, guaranteed it will be in our stomachs very very soon. Now, this is going to sound strange but upon our first bites we immediately piped up with “This tastes exactly like a sausage roll”. The gnocchi, soft and tender to bite, we loved the caramelised prized bits, the rich buttery sauce a welcoming blanky to cover those pillowy gnoccs (yes I went there…). Crispy sage and the sweet amaretti added texture. I cannot wait to go back for this dish…
The Maialino con cappuccio viola, mostarda di Cremona e pistachio –
Twice cooked suckling pig (Hawkesbury NSW), red cabbage salad, mustard fruits, pistachio $38 will make any carnivore happy. Luscious, fatty, tender pork with ear-shattering crispy crackling. Be mindful of the bones, as we had to (un-graciously) spit them out at the table. The cabbage was an adequate accompaniment but for the warmer months, a mash would be more suitable.
Porteno have forever changed sprouts in our eyes, the Cavolo di bruxel con pancetta e pane aromatico – Brussel Sprouts roasted with herb breadcrumb, parmesan, crispy pancetta $12. I’d say go for a slow clap but go ahead, make some noise. This really was a textural sensation, crispy outer sprout leaves, chewy salty pancetta and the sharp parmesan. Perhaps even better than Porteno?
And finally, at bursting point. Patate croccanti – Hand cut fried potato chips with dried olives, garlic, rosemary, Mapuche $11 minus the fancy seasoning, these reminded us of our Nonno’s potato chips, the special ones he’d whip up for us if we had a sleepover! You can’t really tell from the photo below but these were crispy on the outside and fluffy within, the perfect chip.
Alex had to head over to a second dinner (yes, you read that right…) so we skipped dessert. Hopefully to make up for that soon. We can’t wait.
*For Food’s Sake dined as guests of Cipri Italian.