Sunday, May 31, 2009

Vini restaurant, Surry Hills

Food has been, and will always be the biggest part of my travel.
Ever since I got to Sydney, I’ve been indulging in their abundance of fresh produce and Aussie products but I haven’t got around snooping at the restaurant scene.

Saturday was one of the few times that I had a good meal.
C and A took Sarah and I to Vini at Surry Hills for dinner. This is a little Italian Wine and food eatery at the corner of Devonshire street along the very food-trendy Surry Hills area.

The restaurant took no reservations and even though we arrived at 630pm, it was already too full to accommodate us and we had to sit at the bar area at the back of the restaurant. The décor was black, sleek and minimalist. I like the character of the place: bustling with people, mainly friends having a great time over good food and wine.

The menu changes daily: something that really excites me. I always like surprises when it comes to food especially. Even though the menu is small, all the items that the four of us had were really good.

We ordered Italian wine from their extensive wine list and munched on the poppy seed breadsticks served along with green and black olives. Very nice indeed.

We shared two entrees: two types of crostinis, the first with swordfish carpaccio and the second, ricotta and spinach. Simple but freshly made and very good. Then, we also had the procuitto here which I think can go very wrong.

For the mains, I had the ravioli with eggplant and ricotta with cherry tomatoes and pancetta. It was really lovely even though it might sound like a weird mix. The ravioli was freshly made and when you bite into the center, it was really soft and flavourful. The pancetta was crispy and flavourful and complemented the ravioli.

Dessert though, was ordinary and average for me though I think the rest of them enjoyed it greatly. I find it quite disappointing when many restaurants may serve the best entrée or main yet fail to impress for the dessert. Or maybe, I just have particularly high expectations when it comes to desserts. We shared the chocolate and hazelnut tart, the caramel topped pannacotta, the poached pear and honey and pistachio semifredo.

The chocolate and hazelnut tart while being alright wasn’t that fantastic. I didn’t quite like the phyllo pastry base (give me a good shortcrust pastry anytime); the texture of the chocolate and hazelnut was a little closer to a mousse which I found it hard to reconcile. The semifredo was cream but it was a little too sweet for me.

Did I mention that the restaurant has Tuesday night’s special? The good news is that you can make reservations for this special. They focus on a particular regional style of Italian cooking each week. The next week’s session is already fully booked. So the four of us will meet again on the following Tuesday for a second time dinner at Vini. I’m waiting with great expectations already.

3/118 Devonshire St
Surry Hills, NSW
Tel: +61 (02) 9698 5131
No bookings

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