“Italian food was not Italian food back when I arrived in Australia, It was terrible. Garlic bread which was from my region, Well it wasn’t garlic bread at all” explains renowned chef Armando Percuoco. Everyday Italian ingredients were not readily available when Armando arrived in Australia and it was his hard work and contribution that allowed these ingredients to be available nowadays in supermarkets, markets and specialty food stores. His contribution to the Australian food scene is indeed major and I thought why not try his restaurant and thus I’m here. The two hatted restaurant was opened in 1987, located in quiet Paddington here in Sydney which features a two-storey restaurant with elegant and beautiful interior.
I arrived at the restaurant for lunch and was greeted by Gemma who is the manager of the restaurant. Coincidentally, Armando was also there and I was honored to be greeted by the Grand chef himself. I sat down in the restaurant and browsed through the menu and the Degustazione menu (Degustation) caught my eyes. I wondered what to have for my six courses and Armando came and asked if I wanted him to do the honors of choosing the menu. I was delighted and went for it!
I was served bread and condiments and olive oil on the side. Moist and tasty bread with the fruity olive oil makes any man feel Italian.
The appetizer sees a tomato bruschetta. Crisp italian toast with tomatoes marinated in olive oil, garlic and basil.
The selection of Antipasto was beautiful with well seasoned eggplant and tomato once again. Salty parmesan was a great balance with the overall elements.
The squid was cooked to perfection along with the lemony dressing was heavenly, crunch from the rocket makes everything worthwhile!
Al dente pasta with rich yet flavorsome tomato sauce was just the right consistency to go with the moist and fresh rock cod.
The watermelon juice, honey sweet with a touch of freshness from the mint makes the cleansing process quite enlightening.
Presented beautifully of two juicy and fresh john dory fillets cooked in creamy batter of egg and parmesan. Pea puree was smooth and sweet, no errors there.
The tender lamb with seasoned tomatoes and peppery toners from the peppers is terrific. Garlic lightens up the dish, another crunch from the peppery basil makes the dish work perfectly together.
Mixed salad of house dressing is a gorgeous side to pair.
Orange tart was soft of the middle and crisp from the caramelization on the top, the citrus-y candied citrus paired the tart fantastically along with creamy and light ice cream. Not to mention perfect pastry. Chocolate sponge was beautiful with soft chocolate texture and a crunch from the hazelnuts along with sharpness from the berries.
The lunch was truly amazing, a beautiful Italian feast fit for the King. Service was friendly and smooth. It was indeed great to have experienced Armando’s beautiful creations and also great to have him choose the dishes for myself. I now know why the restaurant has two hats, I now know why Armando has such a great reputation, I now know why he is one of the most respected chefs in Australia. I cant wait to be back next year for more, the journey of Armando’s world will always be in my heart and Italian food all the way!
108 Boundary Street, Paddington,
New South Wales
(02) 9360 6729
2010- Two chef hats – Sydney Morning Herald Good Food Guide
His previous cookbooks titled ‘ Modern Italian Cooking ‘ and ‘ La Cucina Italian: the four seasons of Italian cooking ‘ can be purchased from http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=Armando+percuoco&x=0&y=0
His new cookbook titled ‘ Buon Ricordo’ can be purchased from any good bookstores or from the restaurant, personalized by the chef himself. RRP of $65.00, It has many secrets of the restaurant dishes.
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