Thursday, 2 April 2009

North Bondi Italian

Thomas Dux Grocer or Woolies? Same owners, both have the basics but one is decisively more gourmet and upmarket. You won’t get the service, or the sleek stylings of bigger sister Icebergs watching from the other side of Bondi but then again you don’t pay the same price for it. North Bondi Italian is still a damn cool place though, from the small stools in the bar/waiting area, to the intimately chilled dining that uses smart lighting.

Everything from the menu, headings in the Italian mother tongue, jumps straight off the page wanting to wriggle into your mouth. Formaggi, antipasti, salumi, zuppe, verdure, insalate, panini, carparccio, frutti di mare, offal, carni, dolci and pasta, congratulations you have just increased your foreign vocab. Fried calamari, beautifully cooked to balance spring and tenderness, lightly minted and strips of slowly sautéed zucchini. Thick and wide ribbons of pappardelle, just under el dente, a deep tomato ragu of finely chopped pork and veal in “Marchiagiano” (homage to a region of Marche) style clings to the pasta. What seems to make an appearance at every table is the novel and fun spaghetti cooked in a paper bag with crab and a hot pepper spicy arrabbiata sauce. This time the pasta done just right however a problem evident when using the crustacean with stray bits of translucent “cartilage” or “exoskeleton” an unwanted ingredient. Baked chocolate pot to finish a small pocket rocket and not to be underestimated, rich and dense topped with chocolate “pearls”, just like a ball bearing mini coco pop only chocolate covered and crunchy.

Extremely impressive that most dishes are under $30. The excellent value proposition absolutely appeals and makes great quality food by NBI accessible to the normal supermarket crowd.

3 / 5 yums!
Where? 118-120 Ramsgate Ave, North Bondi, NSW
What? Dishes under $30

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