13 September 2011

Candelori's: Italian, Smithfield (10 Sept 2011)

685 The Horsley Drive, Smithfield NSW 2164
Phone: (02) 9729 1155

Italian haven in Smithfield

On recommendation from my brother the family heads out to the industrial suburb of Smithfield to check out an Italian restaurant of massive proportions compared to its misleading shopfront. A 40th birthday of around 50 people is already in progress as we enter via the rear entrance close to the outside parking area for our 6.30 pm booking. The large dining area is divided near the middle by an impressive sized bar displaying bottles of spirits and wine. The kitchen doors are in constant flux of service bringing out tempting looking dishes so luckily we’re not sitting too close to it. Most of the customers seem to be Italian so that’s a good sign. To start my NV Astoria ‘Baby Lounge’ Prosecco Cuvée DOC ($13.5) is pricey but decent and my brothers Peroni Gran Riserva ($12) will set you back more than your average local beer. For entrée the Garlic bread ($5) is nicely toasted and full of garlic and butter flavour as hoped. The Bruschetta bread ($8) is flavoursome and not overly topped so it’s fairly easy to eat without becoming too messy. House bread is complimentary showing a bit of Italian family hospitality. The Pan-fried olives ($9) is a nice tasty starter although I prefer the large sized ones over the smaller ones.

The Calamari fritti ($23) is surprisingly very tender although I was hoping for a bit less coating like I had Lucio Pizzeria. Zucchini flowers filled with ricotta cheese & spinach ($23) are pricey although worth it for their crispiness and tasty filling. The Baked figs & prosciutto pan-finished with gorgonzola and mascarpone cream ($23) are seasonally available. They tasted better than they looked although at $7.50 each I thought they were quite expensive. Now for lovers of seafood you might want to check out the Linguine con aragosta, gamberi e cozze ($36) which comes with a half lobster, tiger prawns and mussels. Pretty reasonable I thought although I preferred the pasta flavour in the Spaghettini with scampi & scallops ($28) which actually had a decent kick of chilli which wasn’t mentioned on the menu. The scampi looked impressive although actually don’t provide much meat in the end.

My dad was pretty happy with his Quaglie saltimbocca ($29) of roasted quails wrapped with prosciutto which I think contained a whole quail family. The Lobster, prawn, crab ravioli ($27) comes with plenty of sauce although bordering on perhaps too much. The ravioli was huge and filled with lobster, crab & prawn meat but I tasted more prawn meat than anything else. For dessert the Nougat toblerone ($17) was a crowd pleaser although I was expecting a bit more crunch from the crushed nougat. The house made almond biscotti was very good. Some decent flavour was to be had in the Tiramisu ($16) albeit at the price and my Hot chocolate ($4) was nicely flavoured. I’m not sure who ‘Ray Hadley's Morning Roast’ is but he seems to have a permanent advertising spot on the cup saucers — I wonder if he’s Italian? All-in-all a pleasant experience except for a bit of absent service towards the end due to being busy. The sizzling hot pots looked good so perhaps next time.

PROS: Lots of seating although book ahead especially on Saturdays as it’s very popular, Quite nice décor, Big focus on seafood, Service seemed down-to-earth and friendly although got a little absent towards the end, Parking available around the back, Function space available
CONS: Some of the 2 seater tables towards the back near the wall are right next to service pathway so not ideal, I had trouble sitting my feet under the table comfortably due to table support in the way
MUST TRY: Sizzling hot pots and pizza next time
WORTH TRYING: Garlic bread, Bruschetta, The Linguine con aragosta, gamberi e cozze comes with half a lobster for only $36 which seems like pretty good value
DAMAGE: $314.50 for five people

NV Astoria ‘Baby Lounge’ Prosecco Cuvée DOC, Veneto, Italy ($13.5), Lemon, Lime & Bitters ($5)

Peroni Gran Riserva, Lazio, Italy ($12)

Garlic bread - woodfired garlic ciabata bread ($5)

Bruschetta bread - woodfired ciabata bread topped with diced tomato, basil, garlic, balsamic vinegar and virgin olive oil ($8)

Complimentary house bread

Pan-fried olives with lemon zest, rosemary, dry chilli and extra virgin olive oil ($9)

Calamari fritti - tender calamari lightly floured and pan fried ($23)

Zucchini flowers filled with ricotta cheese & spinach; lightly pan fried ($23)

Baked figs & prosciutto pan-finished with gorgonzola and mascarpone cream (seasonal availability). We source our figs from NT, QLD, NSW and California ($23)

Linguine con aragosta, gamberi e cozze - long thin pasta, pan tossed with a half lobster, tiger prawns, mussels, virgin olive oil, diced tomatoes, garlic, chilli & white wine ($36)

Complimentary side vegetables with main

Quaglie saltimbocca - roasted quails wrapped with prosciutto; pan-finished with virgin olive oil, sage, garlic, white wine & served on a bed of lentils ($29)

Lobster, prawn, crab ravioli - large ravioli filled with lobster, crab & prawn meat; pan finished with diced tomatoes, basil & extra virgin olive oil ($27)

Spaghettini with scampi & scallops - spaghettini, pan tossed with white wine, garlic, virgin olive oil, parsley, shallots & cherry tomatoes ($28) - actually had a decent hit of chilli

Impressive looking scampi but more shell than meat

No crab meat left behind

Nougat toblerone - crumbled biscuit base filled with soft cream cheese, toblerone chocolate & crushed nougat; served with white chocolate gelato, warm dark chocolate & house made almond biscotti ($17)

Tiramisu - layered savoiardi biscotti dipped in espresso, zucchero and vecchia romagna brandy; finished with mascarpone and shaved dark chocolate ($16)

Hot chocolate ($4)

English Breakfast tea ($5)

Ray Hadley's Morning Roast tea cup — WTF?!

Bill $314.50 for five people

Interesting bottled fruit although is a star fruit Italian?

I had trouble sitting my feet under the table comfortably :-(

Sugar and toothpicks — the only time I usually see toothpicks is at a Chinese restaurant

Dining area — very large

Lots of free car parking at rear

Opening hours


Lil said...

All that seafood!! Looks like I've found heaven.

Tina@foodboozeshoes said...

OMG those seafood pastas look fabulous! Looks like a nice lil neighbourhood place :)

Anonymous said...

Thank you for this review, your description & photos have helped to give a better picture of this restaurant as to where to hold our next family function.

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