20 September 2009

A Tavola: Italian, Darlinghurst (11 Sept 2009)

348 Victoria Street, Darlinghurst NSW 2010

Didn't quite meet expectations

Firstly, I must say if it wasn't for the spectacular service of our friendly and professional waiter Milo, I think our dining experience would have been a bit of a disaster. Also being provided complimentary arancini appetisers, a dessert tasting plate and coffees helped somewhat. Simon Thomsen's SMH review might have quoted this place as one of the loveliest and sexisest Italian eateries in Sydney but I'm sure he didn't have a sizable cockroach land on his table between service of entree and main in this 1 hatted restaurant. I really wanted to love this place which was highly recommended by some friends but my high expectations weren't quite met. The decor is lovely and I hope to perhaps give it another chance one day to compare.

A Tavola definitely has it's fans which required me to make a late booking of 9 pm to get a table. Upon arriving it was full and we were seated by friendly staff to the back area which seemed a bit quieter than the communal table at the front. The menu choices looked great which were all in Italian and needed to be explained by the waiter, if you didn't know Italian (sorry if I've written the dish names incorrectly) — they were very accommodating in translating it for us. I ordered the ravioli with prawn and fish from the specials menu but later found out there was not enough left so this caused a bit of a delay in our order — we received complimentary arancini for the inconvenience which were tasty. I mentioned I was really keen on the dish so the chef prepared a single ravioli for me to try which smelt delicious but unfortunately I found the pasta a bit too hard (firmer than al dente).

The Insalata di Manzo had some nice fresh tasting ingredients but I thought the balsamic vinegar dressing was a little bit dominating on the taste buds. I wouldn't order the crab salad again which wasn't particularly fulfilling and a bit disappointing to a fellow diner. My revised order of Gnocchi was rich in flavour and tasty although perhaps a bit too creamy heavy for my liking to try and finish even when I tried to share with other diners. My fellow diners thought their Spaghetti alle Vongole and Filetto di pesce con Melanzane were OK but nothing particularly special so were a little disappointed. There was a long wait between entrees and mains to arrive, at least 45 minutes, which was interrupted by our cockroach visitor dropping down from above which our waiter kindly disposed of with much apology. He brought us a complimentary dessert tasting plate at the end of our meal which was quite nice and I liked the orange marshmallow with aperol and marmalade ice cream the best while another diner really enjoyed the dark chocolate. The Affogato was good but Cafe Sopra makes an even better one for much less. I'm hoping a revisit will be a much better experience.

Arancini filled with meat and olive (complimentary)

Insalata di Manzo $21

Granchio con puree di finucchino $21 (crab salad)

Ravioli con ripieno di pesce con passta di gambero $33 (complimentary one to try)

Gnocchi con piselli, asparagus e fave allo zafferano $33

Filetto di pesce con Melanzane $37

Spaghetti alle Vongole $23

Clams unopened

Salt and cheese

Dessert tasting plate: Dark chocolate, milk chocolate, white chocolate meringue, orange marshmallow with aperol and marmalade ice cream (complimentary)

Milk chocolate dessert

Dark chocolate dessert

Orange marshmallow with aperol and marmalade ice cream

White chocolate meringue

Cappucino (complimentary)

Short black (complimentary)

Affogato $10

Specials menu

Front communal dining table
9 pm

11.30 pm

Back dining room

Upstairs dining

Wall feature

Aesop toilet products

The bill

The uninvited guest



Karen | Citrus and Candy said...

I can't believe you included a photo of the "uninvited guest"!. EEK! And EEW!

I probably would've knocked the table over and tipped backwards in my chair in shock!

Catherine said...

I would have screamed so loud!

aptronym said...

OMG! That is awful that your experience had to be spoiled in that way with the roach (I'm glad you included the photo!) but I think that A Tavola dealt with it in a professional manner.

The dastardly things are a menace in inner Sydney and if this one dropped in from above then it's probably just one of those seriously unfortunate things and I bet that the restaurant are panicking more than you were...!!

Bummer about the ravioli but I have to give a tick to them for trying to make it up for you; most restaurants would just ask you to order something else and leave it at that.

Trissa said...

Too bad about the cockroach. But my husband and I had a great experience there a few months back. I still reminisce over the pasta pumpkin dish!

Simon Leong said...

hi karen, i couldn't resist capturing the moment ;-)

hi catherine, i would have too but i had to stay strong ;-)

hi aptronym, i think i'll have to try another time just to try the best of the pasta they have to offer.

hi trissa, glad you had a great time. i'll have to give them a second chance in the future i think :-)

Simon Food Favourites Map

View Simon Food Favourites in a larger map Key: BLUE - Location visit and review PINK - Simon Favourites and places offering something special

Small Bars in Sydney map

View Small Bars in Sydney in a larger map