Thursday, 21 September 2006
3 Jersey Road, Woollahra
+61 2 9328 1600
To see all the photos, click here.
Back in August I made an impromptu decision to join friends for dinner at one of Fabio’s favourite Sydney restaurants: Buzo.
I was not disappointed.
The restaurant was hard to notice, just off the main drag of Oxford Street, and nestled into a refurbished terrace house. The interior had a Parisian café feel with the curved wooden chairs and French prints, but the food was clearly Italian.
The daily menu appeared and I had a tough time making my decision since more than one item caught my eye. For entrée I decided upon the house smoked eel ($17) which came atop a crostono (toasted baguette) and was hidden under a forest of dressed watercress and slices of boiled egg. The eel was sweet and perfectly textured, flaking into smoky morsels and matching perfectly with the egg and watercress. A wonderfully light and flavoursome start.
Fabio chose the pan fried quail as his entrée ($17). It was accompanied by pancetta and slices of pickled pear. Shreddings of radicchio treviso gave a perfect bitter contrast to the generous lashings of a rich, dark jus. Even though it was an intense and heavy start, I adored this dish and thought the flavours were paired skilfully.
Julia also chose her entrée well, with a terracotta pot of baked spinach, endive, gorgonzola and parmigiano ($17). The vegetables oozed with cheesy goodness and were topped with fresh chives. A vegetarian delight!
Jean-Philippe ordered the gnocco fritto ($17) which turned out to be ravioloni filled with goat’s cheese and covered with coppa, salami, shredded basil and generous mountains of parmigiano.
Our fabulous waiter Marty presented us with some chicken wings to share, deep fried bites topped with a salsa of chilli, garlic, basil and aged balsamic. They had a good flavour combination but were a little dry.
Upon Fabio’s suggestion, for my main course I ordered one of the most exquisite dishes I have ever tasted: vincisgrassi ($25). This layered pasta from the Marche region has been found in records dating back to the late 1700s. Buzo’s version of vincisgrassi is fairly faithful to the original recipe using pasta sheets sandwiched between porcini mushrooms, prosciutto and truffles. The intense flavour combinations were simply superb and I cannot recommend this dish highly enough.
Julia and Chantelle joined me and devoured their own servings of the divine vincisgrassi.
Jean-Philippe’s chargrilled scotch fillet ($28.50) was also delicious, smothered in a salsa di cipolline – shallots teamed with fresh parsley in a jus based gravy.
Fabio ordered slow roasted pork shoulder ($28.50), complete with a rich sauce and topped with crispy breadcrumbs flavoured with fresh herbs and garlic. This was also an excellent choice because the meat was so perfectly cooked, the breadcrumbs added a delightful texture and the flavours danced elegantly in the mouth.
With our mains we shared three contorni ($23.40): a mixed green salad, green beans dressed in olive oil and fried potato cubes scattered with sea salt. All were exceptionally good side dishes and worth a mention.
With dinner we indulged in some excellent wines. First was Fromm’s 2004 La Strada Pinot Noir from Marlborough, New Zealand ($82.50) was a silky pinot noir with strong berries and gentle spices. It was a deep, thick red hue and had mild tannins. Throughly enjoyable.
We also sipped upon Martinez Bujanda’s 2002 Rioja Crianza from Spain $36.50), which was bright red with purple tints, sweet-spice aromas from the American oak and an elegant, red fruit palate with hints of acidity.
Even though I was ridiculously stuffed I still decided to indulge in dessert. I chose the budino di matteo ($14.50) – a steamed vanilla pudding topped with plum jam and vanilla cream. The pudding’s warmth and sweetness were just to my liking, but the vanilla cream was a little thick and cloying. The overall flavour was comforting and mild.
Fabio and Julia shared the baked chocolate ($14.50) which had a soufflé like consistency and was sprinkled with flaked almonds. It was absolutely wonderful and came with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.
Jean-Philippe went for the simplicity of an affogato served with a nip of frangelico ($17.50).
Our lovely waiter Marty delivered a complimentary preserved blood plum tart ($12.80). Sweet latticed pastry encased jammy plum pulp. The tart was served with a scoop of double cream and dusted with snowy powdered sugar.
Marty had not yet dispensed the final surprise – digestivi of house made limoncello which Marty explained was an evolving and unique recipe of wine, spirits and, of course, lemons. Unlike traditional Italian limoncelli which are zesty and vibrant, this version was mild and restorative. A perfect finale.
Overall, the service was friendly and professional, the food was outstanding and the total cost for five people was not exorbitant for the standard and quality: $475 total or $95 per person (including a 12% tip).
I am not at all surprised to see that in the 2007 Sydney Good Food Guide, Buzo received a well deserved chef’s hat!
To check out all the food porn from the meal, visit my Buzo set at Flickr.
Tags: morsels and musings food blog food and drink australia sydney restaurant reviews restaurants reviews buzo italian vincisgrassi