12 July 2012

Piedmont Truffle Regional Dinner at Osteria Balla, The Star, Pyrmont (10 July 2012)

The Star, Retail Arcade, 80 Pyrmont Street, Pyrmont NSW 2009

Truffling through Italian cuisine

Thanks to Denea Buckingham for inviting me along as her plus one guest to the Piedmont Truffle Regional Dinner at Osteria Balla hosted by Chef Stefano Manfredi. To date my palate has been quite disappointed about the beloved truffle but this 4 course dinner ($120 including sponsored wines) thankfully brought me one step closer to appreciating the flavour that it possesses. Dishes were matched with wines from Piedmont and credit should be given to the sommelier who I thought did a great job with matching the wines to the dishes. To start the light and refreshing 2011 Matteo Correggia Roero Arneis was nicely matched to the White vegetable puree with fontina and black truffle which had great flavour and a definite truffle taste. I thought the dish would have also work very well as an amuse bouche presented in a shot glass with dare I say it maybe even a freshly shucked oyster inside — who knows. Next was a very smooth and buttery 2010 Angelo Gaja Rossj Bass Chardonnay which was well-matched to the creamy Black truffle risotto with good truffle flavour and an al dente bite. Note the 2009 bottle is on the wine list for $210 so it doesn’t come cheap.

Another favourite wine of the night was the 2010 Giuliano Corino Nebbiolo ($89 bottle) with good bouquet and again nicely matched to the Rabbit loin with bread and truffle stuffing, braised lentils, grilled cauliflower. The truffle flavour wasn’t as noticeable in this dish and even though the grilled cauliflower was quite nice I think I would have preferred it as a cauliflower puree mixed with perhaps truffle butter to add some creaminess to the dish. For dessert the 2010 Bera Moscato d'Asti Naturale ($82 bottle) was easy to drink, perhaps too easy, but thankfully low in alcohol. It wasn’t too sweet, had a nice bouquet and the bubbles gave it a very pleasant texture on the palate. Another great match with the Nougat and honey white truffle with hazelnut sauce. No actual truffle in this dessert but flavours were well-balanced and it wasn’t overly rich and surprising fairly easy to eat for its round shape. The restaurant got my tick of approval for their toilets which even though they’re unisex were very well kept and nicely presented plus there’s no awkward obstacles from the table supports so they get a tick from me too. I know I have a weird obsessive passion for these two things but hey each to their own. I noticed Urbanspoon's rating was quite low of 57% liked after 64 people but the menu didn't look overly expensive. A common complaint seems to be the only steak option on the menu is the 800g T-bone to share for $84 which I'd probably agree that it seems to be very limiting for diners.

PROS: Nice d├ęcor and atmosphere, Event price kept reasonable due to wines being sponsored, Professional and knowledgeable staff, Well-presented dishes, Open kitchen provides some dining theatre, Quality wines, Quality ingredients
CONS: Located at The Star where you won’t find any free street parking in the area, Perhaps not the cheapest restaurant in town but the decor, quality and ambience seems to justify the price
MUST TRY: Hopefully returning to try other dishes on the menu
Chef Stefano Manfredi

Table setting

Piedmont Truffle Regional Dinner ($120 per person)

Bread and olive oil

2011 Matteo Correggia Roero Arneis

White vegetable puree with fontina and black truffle

Fontina can get a little elastic

2010 Angelo Gaja Rossj Bass Chardonnay

Black truffle risotto

2010 Giuliano Corino Nebbiolo ($89 bottle)

Rabbit loin with bread and truffle stuffing, braised lentils, grilled cauliflower

2010 Bera Moscato d'Asti Naturale ($82 bottle)

Nougat and honey white truffle with hazelnut sauce

Black truffles

Speech time

Chef Stefano Manfredi & Denea Buckingham

Denea going in for the dessert kill shot

Riedel glassware

Sparkling glassware

Wine list on iPad

Grappa trolley — looks like some serious fun

Unobstructive table supports get a tick from me

Unisex toilets well presented

This must be 'The Star' — Happy Mardi Gras!

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Richard Elliot said...

I didn't get to eat in any of the smart new eateries in the Star before I left unfortunately. The truffle based menu looks good.

Was your table on a slight slope? The risotto seems to be oozing over to one side!

Loving Denea's sultry looking pose with Stefano.

Are you wearing walking boots in a fine diner?

Finally, pleased to see that even though the toilets were unisex it didn't stop you taking photos!

Vivian - vxdollface said...

Gutted I didn't know about this!

Simon Leong said...

hi richard, it's the first time i've actually visited The Star. i don't believe the table was at a slope but i think my camera work was to try and get the large plate all in the shot. they are indeed my walking shoes hehe.

hi vivian, i believe they have more themed Italian events coming up so check them out.

tania@mykitchenstories.com.au said...

Looks good Simon. I went to the Tuscan night and really loved it

Simon Leong said...

hi tania, great to hear the tuscan night was good too :-)

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