Situated on the second level at the George Street end of the Victorian-esque Strand Arcade, Pendolino restaurant provides a blend of old world dining charm serving beautiful Italian food.
Named after the Pendolino olive tree, the restaurant is not shy in showcasing some of Australia's premium olive oils on its menu.
There is even a dedicted store on premises which they refer to as an L’Olioteca-an oil library! A restaurant after my already "drowning in olive oil" heart.
The lights are dim, the tablecloths crisp white and the walls are adorned with a selection of wines.
A bread basket arrives as soon as I take my seat. The fresh breads partner perfectly with the lemon infused olive oil.
My friendly waitperson Zoe, guides me through the menu in a warm, friendly, down to earth manner.
The made on premises pastas all sound good but I'm craving risotto to begin my Italian feast. The risotto ai funghi reali is the perfect blend of al dente rice, fontina cheese, leek and King Brown mushrooms.
It hits the "umami spot" perfectly. The fontina is creamy, almost "dreamy" without being overbearing whilst the mushrooms lend an earthiness that rounds out the whole dish.
The main part of my feast has to be lamb. Obviously.
It's slow cooked and cutting into a piece reminds me of all those "food cliches" about butter. Yep. It's that soft.
The accompanying grilled white polenta, baby carrots and braised Tuscan black cabbage, assist in making this a winter warming feast.
Look at my plate. It does not lie.
When it's cold outside your body wants comfort. And as much as those blood orange olive oil ricotta fritters were calling me I opted to have the lighter semifreddo.
Ligurian honey, nougat and almond milk form what looks like an ice cream without its cone. It's just the right size and doesn't throw my system into "overindulged" mode. The accompanying crostoli would make any nonna proud too.
Pendolino, I'll be back….
This restaurant was reviewed as part of Mushroom Mania month which is happening all across Australia during July 2012. Souvlaki For The Soul dined at Pendolino with compliments of the Australian Mushroom Growers Association.