Wednesday, 8 April 2009

Pendolino Cafe

My most anticipated opening in the Sydney CBD April 2008. In a city devoid of anywhere decent for a sit in, value lunch, Pendolino Cafe (not to be confused with the fine dining restaurant) is as welcome as the jingle of Greensleeves from a nearby Mr Whippy van on a smoking hot day. Fun sitting at the long communal table surrounded by shelves of quality olive oil available for sale or out the front at any one of the round entocea wine bar tables in a classy casual space that fits perfectly in the classic Strand Arcade.

With everything under $18, multiple trips won’t break the bank for the quality, simple Italian plates. Pasta lovers rejoice in the tagliatelle modenese, ribbons of el dente with a rich, herbie tomato ragu with juicy pork and veal. Penne Alla Puttanesca, beautiful penne with anchovy, olives, garlic and a fresh tomato sauce. The linguine excellent though make sure you’ve got some Extra handy, showing you don’t have to do much to please by using quality ingredients and plenty of them in an olive oil infused with garlic, chilli and shaved pecorino. Monty Python something completely different Vincigrassi, lasagne of truffled chicken liver has that grainy texture but masked by soft earthy, buttery Portobello mushrooms. A breadcrumb and parmesan crusted veal cutlet, dry of excess frying oil is a more meaty option, the shoestring fries crisp, crunchy and sprinkled with Sicilian sea salt and dried oregano.

Yes I have been here multiple times and the only thing that disappoints is the priority service given to the higher payer customers inside. Nevertheless, I’ll jingle to the tune of a Pendolino lunch most days of the week.

3.5 / 5 yums!
Where? The Strand, Pitt St Mall (near King St), Sydney, NSW
What? Under $18

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