Which restaurant did I recently go to for a special first date? Verde in East Sydney.
I wasn’t too sure what to expect for the first date, but when we turned up to Verde, I was impressed.
Authentic Southern Italian cuisine, the décor not so authentic Italian. It was more modernised high-end Australiana with eclectic Italian touches dotted throughout. With a small courtyard on the roof, large private dining room, an intimate booth and wine bar, it caters for any occasion.
From the moment I walked in, I felt warm and comfortable as the lovely lady at the front desk asked us to move upstairs as our table was waiting and ready. The young waiter upstairs guided us to our private little table for two, which was obviously a personal request.
We were handed our menus for food and wine. Authentic Italian food always has plenty of seafood, so I was in the mood for a white wine, and that we got. A bottle of the 2008 Indian Pacific Semillon Sauvignon which was a pleasant drop to start off the tedious task of what food to order of the extensive mouth-watering menu.
Our Head Chef, Antonio Ruggerino, has created a menu based on authentic Italian cuisine with a strong Southern Influence. Some of the recipes have even been passed on by our Nonnas’ from San Giovanni di Gerace – a small village in Southern Italy’s, Calabria.
Knowing we had a wonderful chef with Nonna’s knowledge, we realised we were in for a special treat.
We ordered for entree, the Zucchini flowers filled with ricotta and spinach, fried white bait with garlic aioli and Arancini Balls with Grape Tomato Salsa. Ok, maybe we went a little overboard, but boy was it good!
The Zucchini flowers were a great size, not too big, not to small. They were perfectly filled, not under filled and not over filled. They weren’t oily, they had a delicate taste and the filling wasn’t over powering and dominating the taste of the flower. Arancini balls – delicious! Cooked to absolute perfection. The white bait which is one of my favourite things to eat at Italian/Spanish restaurants was absolutely delicious and really crispy, the garlic aioli not overly garlicy – especially for that first kiss to end the night.
For our mains, I ordered the homemade Linguine Marinara, prawns, Vongole, Barramundi with white wine and my date got the roasted veal cutlet, rosemary potatoes, prosciutto bone marrow Involtini. My linguine was al-dente, the prawns fresh, juicy and succulent and the most delicious part was my Barramundi. The Vongole (Vongole is a tiny clam) was also yummy, although they are small, so the flavour isn’t as intense as anything else on the dish. The roasted veal cutlet was roasted to perfection and the rosemary potatoes were amazing – I’d know because I took some from the plate. What’s your’s is mine – unless it’s already mine!
We also got a small salad of rocket, pear, Pecorino, Lemon and E.V Olive Oil. This has always been one of my favourite salads. It’s super delicious if you use blue vein cheese as an alternative to Pecorino – although Pecorino is just as amazing!
So you think I’m going to spill everything on what was for “dessert” don’t you?! Well I am… Caramel and chocolate liqueur Panna Cotta with Nutella semifreddo – AMAZING! Nutella is one of my most favourite things IN THE WORLD! So I loved this dessert. I also learnt that it’s also my dates favourite too! Nutella has got to be a foundation to a long relationship right? We’ll see about that!
Pros: Pleasant and attentive staff, not too quiet and not too loud – perfect for a date, not too dark and not too bright – perfect for a date, wholesome and flavoursome food, not too expensive.
Cons: There wasn’t really anything negative that stood out.
Pricing: Entrees between $4.50 and $16, Mains from $21 to $30, Desserts all $12. The bottle we had was $39, but they range from $35 to $690.
Final say: Well the date couldn’t have gone better. I can thank some of this on the great food and the venue itself. Great food and great wine is the key to anybodies heart – I think both Italians and my date could agree with that, right?
So are you wondering if there was a second date? … There’s been many more since! (with the same person!)
Corner Stanley St & 115 Riley St, East Sydney – (02) 9380 8877