When an email lobbed into my inbox announcing the Summer Showcase Dinner at Spiedo Restaurant & Bar on Level Six of Westfield Sydney, I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to sample the new summer menu from one of Sydney’s top Italian chefs, Alex Pavoni (Ormeggio at the Spit, Spiedo Restaurant & Bar)
Spiedo (pronounced spee-EH-doh) showcases Alex’s love of food from his home region of Lombardy in Italy. The restaurant is named for the Spiedo Bresciano a traditional spit roast from the region that consists of different cuts of meat basted with butter and sage. Alex’s version features slow roasted duck, pork ribs, pork neck & chicken and is well worth a try, but my visit to Spiedo on this occasion was to sample dishes from the new summer menu.
We arrived early for dinner so we decided to perch ourselves at the stuzzi bar which offers a great view into the open plan kitchen. We ordered a jug of Pirlo which is Spiedo’s signature cocktail. Aperol and Prosecco are lengthened with sparkling mineral water and topped with fresh orange. It was the perfect aperitivo with which to start our evening.
It was not long before we were seated at our table in the dining area at the opposite end of the kitchen. With the light exposed timber beams, tiled ceiling and stucco walls painted khaki green, the dining area is modern and tasteful with a nod to the Italian design aesthetic. It is well lit without being overly bright and each table has a tea light nestled in a glass cylinder filled with dried macaroni which is a cute touch.
This was the first night that the dishes had been served, but judging by the quality of what we ate, they had been preparing to cook this menu for some time.
First to come out were the crispy polenta sticks with gorgonzola sauce. The crisp shell of the polenta sticks gave way to a light, buttery, smooth polenta filling with the creamy gorgonzola sauce providing a nice bitey accompaniment.
Next was carpaccio di manzo, peshiole al tartufo. Paper thin slices of beef carpaccio were simply dressed with olive oil and pepper topped with batons of baby peach which had a light truffle perfume, baby rocket and bagoss cheese. The menu version of this dish with also feature quail egg and crispy quinoa which I think will add a nice textural element to this dish.
This was followed by mozzarella di bufala, pomodori, basilica. Chunks of some of the creamiest buffalo mozzarella I have ever tried (flown in from Italy of course) were paired with wedges of heirloom tomato, topped with baby basil and drizzled with a beautifully grassy olive oil. I loved the understated simplicity of this dish as it let the ingredients speak for themselves.
It wouldn’t be a meal from Lombardy without a risotto and Alex Pavoni is quite rightly known as Sydney’s risotto king. Risotto al frutti di mare e zafferano was rich, buttery Milanese style risotto streaked with saffron threads and parsley and filled with a generous amount of perfectly cooked mussels, prawns, calamari and vongole.
The Gnocchi aparagi e ricotta was a picture of lightness. Light pillows of gnocchi covered with a light buffalo ricotta and gently finished with toasted pine nuts and asparagus.
It was followed by Strozzapreti al cinghiale e maggiorana. Stozzapreti (or ‘priest choker’ in Italian) is a hand rolled pasta which absorbed the flavour of the herbaceous wild boar ragout perfectly.
We finished the night with two desserts. A Passionfruit pannacotta which had been topped with an almost chocolaty looking blueberry granite, a coconut crumb and crunchy tubes of meringue. The finale was Zuppa Inglese which featured a layer of spongecake, chocolate and vanilla custard flecked with pieces of chocolate and finished with a soft meringue. Both were delicious.
There was nothing on the night’s menu that wasn’t to like. It’s quite clear that Alex and the team at Spiedo have excelled themselves yet again with another great menu. Whether you’re stopping in for an espresso, a cocktail, some small plates or a full meal. Spiedo should be on your dining list for the summer.
Spiedo Restaurant & Bar
Level 6, Westfield Sydney
Sydney NSW 2000
02 8072 9999