La Botte Da Ercole, Willoughby
Alright, so I’m not really much of a writer (which is probably a good thing that I like to take photos). From now on, the focus will probably be on substance and content – straight to the point with some photos here and there (which is what life should be about!)
A few study buddies and I went to La Botte Da Ercole on a late Sunday night after working on our assignment – ah the “joys” of studying. Anyway, this little restaurant is quite close to where I live – I pass it all the time but it’s so small and cosy and you wouldn’t usually notice it if it weren’t always full on a Friday/Saturday night.
It feels like there’s a lot more than ten to twenty tables in the entire restaurant as the back wall is just one big mirror. You practically have to tip-toe around all the tables to get to your seat but once in, you’re nice and snug (heaven forbid if you need to use the bathroom during the meal!) There is an open kitchen area where pizzas and ovens are prepared which is pretty cool But a bad idea when you’re starving and keep hoping the next dish is yours!
I love my garlic bread! (Actually, I love anything with garlic *guilty*) So apart from being a bit hard to chew, the flavor was complete and there isn’t much I have to complain about (can’t say the same for garlic breath afterwards though).
Overall I thought the meal was quite heavy as you can tell from the bruschetta – I don’t think I’ve ever had a cheese topping variation (or maybe I just haven’t tried enough bruschettas). But definitely something different and what’s even better, it was served with a garlic bread base!
Garlic Prawns – prawns, mushrooms, garlic & chilli
This dish wasn’t chilli at all (which really suits me as I don’t eat chilli – clearly not asian enough either) and I loved the abundance of garlic and mushrooms. The prawns were fleshy which was great – just mouthfuls and mouthfuls of flavor! This dish is served with some dipping bread which is essential otherwise the dish becomes too salty!
Tortellini Ai Funghi – Round pasta with veal filling, mushrooms, shallots & cream
The tortellini was a welcome change compared to the other, more oily, dishes. The tortellini was small and delicate and with a little – but right – amount of filling so that the dish was well balanced.
Penne Pesto – Basil, pine nuts, cream & parmesan cheese
The combination was good but definitely way too oily! The four of us struggled to finish this dish. Maybe I’ll try to Bolognese penne next time…
Ercole’s special – Tomato, cheese, ham, cabanossi, onion, capsicum & mushrooms
All my favourite ingredients combined into one! What more could I ask for! The base was nice and thin and the crust was puffy and crispy. I don’t normally eat pizza crust but I thought it wasn’t too bad.
No matter how full I am after dinner, there is always always always always room for dessert! I always thought small Italian restaurants limited their desserts to gelato – easy to prepare and serve. So I was quite impressed when the waitress introduced several home-made desserts. The crème caramel wasn’t pretty standard and the taste was a bit unique for my liking so I focused on the remaining desserts!
Vanilla Panna Cotta
I preferred the vanilla panna cotta over the crème caramel and when the others struggled to finish the desserts, I was more than happy to offer my assistance. Afterall, it’s what they teach you in school and what they want you to have at work: good: good team work skills (and the ability to step up… But let’s leave that for another time..)!
Delicious, mango gelato with white chocolate coating. However, diners beware! The honey is not enough to stick the gelato to the plate! My eager attack at the gelato almost landed it on the table! This was definitely my favourite dish of the entire night!
Perfect place for a casual night out and I would recommend making reservations!
La Botte Da Ercole
608 Willoughby Rd,
(02) 9958 6785