Stephano’s Ristorante, Parramatta

It’s a Saturday night and we are at a friends place desperately calling restaurants to try to make a reservation somewhere that served ribs and steak. In the end we decided to just drive to Parramatta and try our luck. Initially we wanted to have dinner at 3one7, but they were full. So we wondered up and down Church St, eyeballing the menus for a good while, until we settled on Stephano’s

null

The Mister and I had walked past Stephano’s several times before and were always greeted by the hostess standing just at the entrance; tonight was no different. We were quickly shown a table, a bonus considering it was a Saturday night at 7:30, prime dinner time. The menu is extensive and it took awhile for us to decide on what to order, so we ordered a starter to quell our grumbling stomachs.

nullStephano’s Cheesy Fries, $11.90

I’m not usually a fan of bacon, especially on its own, but cheese and bacon go so well with fries that I just couldn’t help myself. The thing about this dish however is that you have to eat it fast. As soon as the cheese cooled down it was sad faces all around ):

nullPork Racks (Single), $21.00

Pork rack of ribs smothered in Stephano’s own BBQ sauce, char grilled served with chips and salad. I didn’t taste this dish, but was assured throughout the meal that it was “awesome”.

nullGamberoni, $23.90

King prawns with garlic, chilli in a napolitana sauce with a touch of brandy. They also had little surprise prawns tucked away in the pasta. I ordered the pasta thinking it would be a small meal, considering I can’t actually eat as much as I’d like to think I do. But how wrong I was. There was actually enough left over for the Mister to take home the next day to make a very filling breakfast. I had to ask for additional chilli since I couldn’t taste any ): But that didn’t affected the taste of the sauce. I would definitely order this dish again; I loved the sauce that much. It looks a bit thin in the picture, but it was the perfect consistency, and clung to the fettuccine to ensure the perfect mouthful every time.

 

nullChicken Mediterranean, $24.90

Tender grilled chicken breast smothered with fresh lemon, garlic, olive oil, herbs and seeded mustard. The chicken was tender and laced with herbs.

 

Stephano’s T-Bone (900grams), $28.90

T-Bone marinated in parsley and garlic. The steak was a little bit tough on the strip loin side, but was perfect and tender on the sirloin side. Even for the Mister this was a huge meal, and one side was left unfinished, and the salad left almost untouched.

After dinner I craved dessert, but nothing at Stephano’s caught my eye, besides, I already had my mind set on something else….

Stephano’s Ristorante
329 Church St
Parramatta, 2150
T: (02) 9633 3132

Stephano's on Urbanspoon

Advertisements

Bacco Wine Bar Pasticceria, Sydney

A few weeks ago, a friend and I participated in a Foto Rally where we spent most of our day walking aimlessly and exploring the city from Town-hall CBD all the way to Paddington! Confused by the brisk sunny yet windy weather, we soon grew tired and hungry, finding ourselves at Bacco in the Queen Victoria Building.

The restaurant is on the top level with inside and outside seating (if that makes any sense).  We sat outside  along the railings looking over all the little people shopping below. It was really nice to wind down blend into the scenery and submerge ourselves in the delicious menu!

Busiate Al Sugo Di Agnello ($25.00)

All the Italian names on the menu sound so exciting but unfortunately mean nothing to me! Luckily there are good explanations of each dish. The above dish is house-made wholemeal busiate pasta. with bits of  lamb ragu and mixed wild mushrooms. When the dish came out, my natural reaction was to try out a piece of mushroom – it was a bad idea since it was super salty! So make sure you mix it all up before you eat it.

Prosciutto Crudo

Looks like a simple foccacia sandwich but with some very Italian ingredients: San Daniele Italian prosciutto, basil boccocini, roma tomatoes and rocket.

Dolci ($15.00)

For only $15.00 you can choose any three desserts from the Bacco paticceria! It’s an awesome deal! We got the  cheesecake, panna cotta and last but not least, the trio ciocolato – Bacco’s signature chocolate cake. We didn’t get around to the panna cotta because we were so full from everything else!! But I do need to add that the cheesecake was delicious! It was light and fluffy and not what you would normally expect when you hear the words “cheese-cake”.

Perfect for breakfast, brunch, lunch or afternoon tea! Hope you all enjoy!

Bacco Wine Bar Pasticceria
Queen Victoria Building
Shop 24-27, Level 2
455 George St
Sydney 2000
T: (02) 9223 9552
Bacco Wine Bar Pasticceria, Qvb on Urbanspoon

Pins on Megalong, Leura

We were recommended Pins on Megalong by the lady whose Bed & Breakfast we were staying at while at Leura. On the first night we decided we wanted to stay in and so opted for take-away, and ordered light as we were unsure of what the food would be like. Having our first tastes from the take-away boxes we both agreed that Pins warranted a second (if not more) visit and pretty much booked a table right there and then.

Pins was only a brisk 5 minute walk away from where we were staying and its a nice walk, even at night you can see the beautiful gardens and flowers around Leura. On the outside (I didn’t get a picture *sadface*) you wouldn’t even think much of it, as it blends into all the other houses around it. When you walk in you are greeted with a warm fireplace, perfect on such a cold night up in the Blue Mountains. There seems to be only one waiter tonight, and last night as well, despite the restaurant being full, so it does take awhile to get seated.

null

Char-grilled calamari on a rocket salad, $11.50
The calamari wasn’t my cup of tea, but the boy liked the smoky barbecue flavour of it, and the texture is how you’d want calamari to be, not too rubbery.

null

There was a pretty long interval between the entrée and the main course and I just happened to have a pen with me, so we busied ourselves playing hangman. Why waste good paper? :)

null

Spicy lamb meatballs w/ spaghetti in a tomato cheese sauce, $18.90
This was on their specials board and I’d seen a lady eating it the night before, so I’d pretty much decided what I wanted to order before I set foot in the restaurant a second time :) I’m usually not a fan of cheese, but this delish. You can’t see it here, but the cheese came in soft gooey chunks in the sauce. The lamb meatballs were perfect and not too gamey, just the way I like my lamb.

Linguine pasta w/ garlic tiger prawns in a whisky saffron tomato cream, $21.90
I don’t remember much about this dish, just that it was creamy and creamy.. oh.. yeah, and creamy and I loved it. Not heavy creamy, but light, fluffy, yummy creamy, and wishing my stomach could expand so I could shovel both pastas in.

We’d tried both a meaty chicken dish and a pasta dish on the first night, but noticed the majority of diners opted for pasta dishes and when we had a chat with the single waitress that was working she also recommended the pasta dishes. Good recommendation :)

null

White chocolate creme brulee infused w/ ginger and fresh lime w/ honeycomb ice cream, $9.50
I loved how the top layer of caramelised sugar was so thin and delicate on this. There wasn’t much taste of lime, but the ginger was there, and noticeable but not overpowering. The thing I loved most: honeycomb ice cream :) yum.

The previous night I also got a chocolate mousse truffle cake and it was heaven!

Leura is only a short 1.5 hour drive from Sydney and we are definitely going to return for a third, or even fourth visit.

Pins on Megalong
156 Megalong St
Leura NSW 2780
T: (02) 4784 1010

Pins on Megalong on Urbanspoon

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!


Garlic Bread

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).


Bruschetta

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.

Crème Caramel

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..)!


Mango Gelato

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,
Willoughby
(02) 9958 6785

La Botte Da Ercole on Urbanspoon