04 October 2011

La Vucciria: Sicilian Wine Bar & Restaurant, Paddington (31 Aug 2011)

160 Flinders Street, Paddington NSW 2021

Nice place for an Aperitivo

“Inspired by the centuries old food market of Palermo of the same name, La Vucciria is the idea of young Sicilian chef Fabio Alacqua. Joining him is Brad Dickson, a passionate wine expert and former winemaker, sommelier and distributor hailing from Perth”

Thanks to Stephanie Epiro from La Vucciria for inviting me to dine as a guest of the Wine Bar & Restaurant which takes over of the former site of the Flinders Inn. You might notice orange door has been painted red and you can actually see inside now from the street, which I think makes it much more inviting and open. Arriving at 6.30 pm was fortunately just in time to sample the Aperitivo which includes a complimentary tasting plate with your drink. Served between 5.30 and 7 pm every day it’s probably one of the best reasons alone to visit. Everything on the plate was good and the improvised Mocktail with fresh strawberry and juices ($12) and traditional Spritz of Aperol and Prosecco ($12) were both done well. It’s evident the down-to-earth and humble chef Fabio Alacqua is passionate about producing dishes that are seasonal and cooked with heart. The Crispy calamari zucchini ($15) had a decent crisp batter and the zucchini added something different to the dish that seemed to work well. The Gratin scallops ($15) were tasty and would work well as a casual bar snack with a glass of 2009 Torre Solaria Nero D'Avola, Sicily ($9).

The Eggplant involtini ($13) were nicely presented although for me were a little light on taste and I wouldn’t have minded a bit more depth of flavour perhaps. The Meatballs lemon leaves ($13) were infused with good flavour although be sure not to try and eat the surrounding lemon leaves, they’re not particularly edible as I soon found out. For a comforting dish the Gnocchi Di Ricotta Alla Norma ($19) will probably suit and the Spaghetti al Coroccio ($24) comes with a surprising amount of seafood although the mussels ended up being a bit shrivelled up and small after cooking — a few large plump ones would have been preferred. The last time I ate a dish out of a bag was at North Bondi Italian Food and although it may be a nice way to cook something it’s still not a particularly graceful way to eat something out of at the table. I think serving up on a plate would be my preference.

I was thinking the Eolian salad tomato olives cucumber ($8) might have been something a bit different and special but actually ended up being just like a Greek salad without the feta. The ingredients were fresh though. For dessert the Strawberry tiramisu ($10) was something a bit different that had nice flavours that balanced well — more alcohol is always welcome though. The Sgroppino ($10) was refreshing and combined lemon sorbet with a bit of vodka. It made for a very nice palate cleanser after dinner. The décor and lighting was quite homely with lots of interesting details to spot around the room. Look out for the hanging chilli near the kitchen which apparently is for good luck. The toilets are still the same which is a good thing ie nice, except for being outside. If there was one thing that I’d love to change about the place it would be the table supports. It’s probably just me but if I can’t sit my feet squarely flat in front of me I always seem to find it a bit awkward and uncomfortable. I think it might be different for ladies who tend to cross their legs and feet though.

PROS: Nice décor and atmosphere, Good quality dishes using seasonal produce, Aperitivo free tasting plate before 7 pm when you order a drink, Nice toilet (but located externally), Knowledgeable service
CONS: I found the table supports in the way of sitting comfortably (but that could be just me), The dining room window looks out onto a busy street where a bus load of people will be looking in on you (but you get to look out at them too), Street parking can be limited and the restaurant is located a bit off the beaten track
MUST TRY: Aperitivo between 5-7 pm for free tasting plate with your drink
WORTH TRYING: Spritz of Aperol and Prosecco, Crispy calamari zucchini, Gratin scallops, Strawberry tiramisu for something different

Mocktail with fresh strawberry and juices ($12), Spritz - Aperol and Prosecco ($12)

Aperitivo tasting plate - complimentary between 5.30-7 pm with your drink purchase

2009 Torre Solaria Nero D'Avola, Sicily ($9)

Bread and bread sticks

Crispy calamari zucchini ($15)

Gratin scallops ($15)

Eggplant involtini ($13)

Meatballs lemon leaves ($13) — don't try and eat the lemon leaves

Gnocchi Di Ricotta Alla Norma ($19)

Spaghetti al Coroccio ($24)

Eolian salad tomato olives cucumber ($8) — like a Greek salad without the feta

Strawberry tiramisu ($10)

Sgroppino ($10) — a good palate cleanser

Chef Fabio Alacqua

Seating with a view

Reference to Raya Panarea — looks like a nice place

Flower pot people

A bit of morocco

I'm getting a Mexican feel from the gun and cactus together

Vibrant decor colours

Old Sicilian papers

Awkward position of table supports for my feet

In the toilet — great wall tiles


Anonymous said...

gotta love complimentary tasting plates, mmm!

rachelmjkim said...

Hi, I heard this place is closed now. But I was wondering if there was anywhere similar to this (price wise as well as most things are under $30) that you would recommend?

Thank you!

Simon Leong said...

hi minibites, complimentary mini bites are Gold!

hi rachelmjkim, you are correct. unfortunately this place has closed which I noticed about the end of last year. there's not many sicilian restaurants I know of in Sydney but one that I know of is Caffe Sicilia on Crown Street, Surry Hills.

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