There are some meals that need a post of their own. It’s not sufficient to simply post a pic of a plate of food and be done with it. That’s because a fabulous meal isn’t so much a few courses of something yummy, it’s more than that: it’s the company, the ambience, the food, the smells, the service.
Lunch at Ormeggio was all of that- and more. It was one of those meals that had us all debating our favourite dishes, and being happy that we didn’t agree.
We went for the trip around Italy- who could resist with a title like that? A tasting menu, each tiny course is a taste representing the best of that region. The idea being that we can follow the food around the map. So, you’ve been warned- explicit food photos ahead- and lots of them!
We started with oysters. Just a dozen between the five of us, these were topped with an apple granita and teeny tiny cubes of cucumber. On a dreary, rainy Sydney day, the apple brought our tastebuds alive.
Next up was an assortment of appetisers.
First up was vitello tonnato- veal with tuna sauce. Spoiler alert- this got my vote for dish of the day. I could have eaten a whole plate of these little taco bites. This was followed by smoky eggplant parmigiana (in the foreground of the main shot) and parmigiano reggiano (below)- little mouthfuls of cheesy textures.
After pausing for very good sourdough with homemade ricotta, the specialty of the house was brought out: whipped baccala with snow peas. Baccala is essentially dried and salted cod, and this one was served two ways- whipped, and turned into a frozen snow by the addition of liquid nitrogen.
A beaker of snow pea emulsion is poured around it, and hidden underneath are some more tiny peas. Every mouthful was different, complex, yet complementing the last- and the next. It was a close your eyes and contemplate the party in your mouth moment.
Risotto with scampi (raw) and a scampi broth was up next. The risotto was served al dente- and not to the taste of everyone around the table. Miss T wasn’t sure about the scampi. I loved it. The green dust was turnip tops- more of the turnip tops was hidden under the risotto.
By far the prettiest dish of the day, the tooth fish with acqua pazza (crazy water) tasted as good as it looked. To the side was tempura zucchini flowers, with tiny pickled zucchini also on the dish. The crazy water is a gel made from the reduced cooking liquid of the zucchini and the flowers are lantana.
The dish that divided opinion was simply titled basil and tomatoes. Designed as a palate cleanser, Miss T summed it up when she announced it did her head in. I loved the intensity of it.
Although this looks like split peas with an assortment of dust and sand, the little balls are basil sorbet, the red dust is tomato dust, the other sandy looking stuff (yes, I’m running out of descriptives) is basil and tomato crumb, and underneath it all is tomato water turned into gel. It was John’s dish of the day.
The capsicum tagliolini with hazelnuts and sand crab got the vote for dish of the day from Miss T and Heather. It was that good.
Hubby voted for the wagyu- cooked super super slow and served with black garlic emulsion (the little dollops on the plate), anchovy dust (for salt) and Tuscan kale. Under the kale was horseradish cream. Seriously yum and those little dabs of black garlic were gentle yet packed a power punch- at the same time.
The only dish that didn’t get the thumbs up from me was what came next- bitter almond granita with raspberry. It was a tad too cough medicine-y for me (but I loved the liquid raspberry gel), but did the job to clean the palate up before dessert.
And what a dessert: apple strudel. But not like you know it. I’m not even going to begin describing this. Just look at it. Now look at it again. Pretty, right? Together in the mouth it tasted like a cinnamon- scented apple strudel with custard- and a bloody good one at that!
Want more info? Ormeggio on the Spit is at D’Albora Marina at the Spit. The link is here. You’ll need to book ahead- and save up.
What about you? Have you eaten anything (or anywhere) fabulous lately?