Sunday, 4 January 2009

A Tavola

It is The Table that binds us, that brings us closer together. That is the “suck in your stomach to squeeze past” rhino sized communal tavola at, well, “To The Table”. Where I was expecting to be seated. Hidden is the back room, down the stairs from the main area, filled with tabelles for a more regular dining experience. Nothing showcases the authenticity of this Italian Gaststätte than having a blackboard with the presumably changing menu and vino scribed on it. But you can’t help but feel like you’re in sitting in an examination during reading time, flicking through the papers yet have no freaking idea what the questions. Finally a waiter arrives to help out the struggling diner who seems exhausted by the dual responsibility of translator and managing the floor.

And to translate the dishes using the official language of Jamaica, the salad of blanched borlotti, wedges of cherry tomato and slippery rings of calamari dressed in a citrus vinaigrette is a simple, fresh mouth amuser for the mains. Ravoli parcelled spanner crab, served with a dollop of tomato paste and garnished with capers good but unless the crustacean was hand caught, this reeked of a large profit margin given the less than generous portions. Thick ribbons of house pappardelle, is rustically arranged with a red wine enriched rabbit and pea ragu which again is pleasant without being mind altering, though it would be nice if the chef allowed for a longer tasting session. What is fairly apportioned is the pannacotta, custard you could bounce a coin off, hinted with lemon, is accompanied by slithers of mango and drizzled with a gentle sugar syrup. This example is a study of balance and perfection, one to be etched into dictionaries of any language.

Whilst the pasta cannot be faulted, it is the value of the dishes bought To The Table that lets this istituzione down. Which is a pity, because but for that, I would be saying bellissimo.

2.5 / 5 yums!

Where? 348 Victoria St, Darlinghurst, NSW
What? Entrees $19, Mains $22 for regulars, $33 for specials, Desserts $12

Left to Right : Calamari and Borlotti Salad, Spanner Crab Ravoli, Rabbit Pappardelle

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