“Tonight Secret Foodies is at a place starting with O. You’ll find it at D’Albora Marinas, The Spit, Mosman. See you there at 7pm. xxMsD”
After the sixth person walked into Orso and asked for Secret Foodies I’m sure the restaurant owner was ready to start throwing plates. There is only one hated restaurant at The Spit in Mosman, I’m sure, but apparently it’s not the only one starting with O.
Thankfully everyone made it across the road to Ormeggio at the Spit where Secret Foodies’ Italy By The Ocean dinner was waiting to erupt. I’ll admit this Italian restaurant is not the easiest place to find. Miss the sharp turn off to the car park and you’ll find yourself driving over the bridge and on route to Manly. You’ll also have to saunter past a showroom full of luxury boats only to be met by more beautiful boats bobbing next to your dinner table. I want a boat.
Back to Ormeggio…
It’s not the sunniest day in Sydney but despite trickles of rain every window is open facing the ocean. A cool breeze flows through the restaurant and we’re handed Bellini’s. Inside the restaurant is simple with white table clothes, wooden chairs and warm lighting. Who needs OTT fit outs when you have enviable views? Likewise, why be distracted when the food satisfies your attention?
Alessandro Pavoni is from the Lombardy region of Italy and for a more regional dining experience you must try his latest restaurant Spiedo in the CBD Westfield. (See Secret Foodies review). At Ormeggio you’ll find a more modern approach with inspiration for many regions of Italy.
A clear bowl of smoked salmon espuma is placed on the table next to small squares of pork head terrine and crispy bread. The espuma looks like taramasala and I expect a thick consistency but it’s light as mousse with salted capers on top. The terrine is delicious but I don’t see it on the menu. This special starter should be a feature.
My favourite dish of the evening is the tiramisu di baccala, Ling fish, Dutch cream potato spuma and crispy polenta. It is the least attractive dish of the night and other creations by Alessandro are ‘prettier’ but not as flavorsome. The texture is soft and creamy with crunchy pieces of polenta on the bottom. Have with a cold glass of Collezione Pinot Grigio 2010 and you’ll be in heaven.
The organic grass fed wagyu beef battuta with burnt enoki, crispy amaranth and oyster mayonnaise is light but hard to finish. A smaller portion would have sufficed. I also can’t drink a whole glass of the Fattoria di Calappiano Lungarno 2009 which is rather heavy and not for my palate.
The ravioli filled with romanesco broccoli, anchovies and capers should be savored. There is a lot of flavour with sweetness from the cheese and the right amount of salt from the capers. It’s matched with my second favourite bottle of the evening the Borgo Cipressi Montepulciano D’Abruzzo 2010. At $8 a bottle it’s the sort of wine you could drink all night or buy a few cases for unexpected visitors.
My tastes are rather rich though in food and wine, as I love the heaviness of the smoked biodynamic veal rump served with vegetable ash, spring onion, bone marrow and thyme oil. I also love the $80 bottle of Sensi “Sabbiato” Bolgheri 2009, a beautiful red I WISH I had cases of just laying around the house for unexpected visitors.
Our wines for the evening are courtesy of Angelica and Scott from Direct Wine Cellars. Young, ardent Italian wine importers with a beautiful story of how they ‘fell’ into this business after a chance encounter with a wine maker in Tuscany. It’s a romantic story and it’s obvious they are passionate about the wine they sell.
They don’t disappoint with a beautiful sticky to finish. The Sensi Vin Santo Del Chianti 2004 is sweet without being too sweet and overpowering like some dessert wines. Much like the egg on the nest, an artistic dessert. It looks like a boiled egg but taste like light, fluffy bliss and the fairy floss is fun fun fun.
You’ll walk away from Ormeggio comfortably full without the heaviness Italian food sometimes imposes. I love Ormeggio for the picturesque views, attentive staff and beautiful food. It’s so good you could almost expect it to be a little pretentious and slightly intimidating, perhaps reserved for ‘special occasions’. Instead you’ll find an inviting space, accessible to those who appreciate fine food. It’s also child friendly (there’s a cute baby next to us sipping vino…I mean, eating mashed pumpkin). Add it to your list Italian Food Lovers!
But enough about what I think, let’s hear what our foodies have to say…
D’Albora Marinas, The Spit, Mosman 2088
(02) 9969 4088
(02) 4773 4400