If someone had invited me to attend a secret dinner on level 6 of the Westfield building in Sydney a year ago I would have politely declined. A bad food court, sloppy Big Macs, watered down coke and screaming children is no exaggeration of what was on offer. Fast-forward and scrap preconceived notions of shopping mall dining options. Westfield can now hold its high-rise head even higher with some of Sydney's best restaurants now calling it home.
Located above the new level 5 ‘posh food-court’ you’ll find a number of restaurants including Becasse, Chinta Ria and Spiedo, this weeks Secret Foodies destination. Co-owner Alessandro Pavoni of one hat restaurant Ormeggio at The Spit has teamed up with Jeremy Milner to bring a piece of northern Italy to the heart of Sydney.
Named after Pavoni’s favourite dish Spiedo Bresciano the restaurant has a relaxed and inviting feel. Friendly staff and faultless service make dining at Spiedo a no-fuss pleasure. The open kitchen in the middle of the restaurant is buzzing with Italian chefs in green aprons who smile warmly as you walk past towards your table. The décor is sleek and simple with light wooden tables and long windows facing Castleregh St.
Pavoni is from the northern Italian region of Lombardy, right next to Switzerland and surrounded by picturesque mountains and lakes. The cuisine from this region is diverse but “spiedo is one of the most popular dishes,” explains Head Chef and fellow Italian Fulvio Lancione.
We start our evening with Borgo Frare Prosecco Brut from Treviso, Italy before Jeremy show’s us to our seats. Sciatt’ Fontina cheese in buckwheat and grappa tempura, radicchio are placed on the table. One stab of the knife releases the gooey cheese and our dinner begins. For a prettier dish but equally as tasty the crudo of rainbow trout, baby beetroot, sheep’s yoghurt, dry olives is light and great for sharing.
Add the braised organic snails, silverbeet, potato puree to your must-try list. Even if you’re squeamish about snails or turned off by the thought trust me, they’re seriously delicious. The snails are one of the best dishes on the menu.
For pasta lovers who like to order seafood the wholemeal bigoli, yabbies, green peas is for you. The wholemeal pasta is very heavy so one to be shared unless you’re really hungry. For something meatier try the potato gnocchi, wild boar ragout with generous servings of rich pulled meat. The saffron risotto with red wine braised beef cheek is also a popular dish amongst our foodies and full of flavour.
The first time I had Spiedo was at Ormeggio and it had me baffled. “I’m eating duck, no wait…pork, no quail, wait that has to be duck” went on for some time before the concept was explained. The traditional Brescian way of spit-roasting meats of Pork ribs, pork scotch fillet, quail and duck is on a rotisserie and then served with polenta. It’s a heavy dish and not for everyone. Order a mixed leaf salad to lighten the plate and make sure you save room for dessert.
I’m going to make a huge call and say the tiramisu at Spiedo is possibly the best in Sydney. Putting a twist on the traditional dessert it’s an upside down version of what you’re used to eating. With soft spongy cake and coffee granita on top it’s something you’d go to Spiedo to order just on it’s own.
The wine list is diverse with wines from many regions including, of course, Lombardy. The Provenza ‘Lugana Tenuta Maiolo’ (white) and Garda Gropello Classico’ (red) are both very easy to drink. If you’re stuck, allow the sommilier to match wines to your dishes, he’s more than competent.
Spiedo is open 7 days a week for breakfast, lunch and dinner. The best way to access the restaurant is via 77 Castlereagh St and taking the elevator to Level 6. At the front you’ll find StuzziBar are more casual space for coffee or cheeky glass of vino and antipasto plate. For a true regional experience book in for the Lombardian Long Lunch one Sunday and experience dishes made from recipes passed down by Alessandros grandmother. I’m almost certain she’s never seen a sloppy Big Mac in her life.