Café Settebello

Today on the Dining Diaries…

Gorgeous smells tease our taste buds,
Music from Italy transports us away and…
This is the place to come to if you want to get stuffed.

Diners today we finally made it to Cafe Settebello  Newton Rd, Newton.
They haven’t been in this location very long but it’s been recommended to me so many times that I had to go down and see what all the fuss is about.

It seems to me that every time I enter a decent Italian restaurant the first thing I notice is the beautiful aromas!!! It just makes me so hungry!!
I’m sure what I was smelling was the pizza that was cooking in their famous wood oven and it was just so tantalising.

The dining room is spacious and modern but definitely has a touch of Italy.

No red and white table cloths but nice pictures of Italy on the walls and modern Italian music playing in the background.
The only thing that spoilt the illusion of being transported across the sea was the view. Unfortunately the restaurant is situated on a busy main road and it was just wall to wall traffic.
In their defense, I did forget about it once that food came and there’s not much that they can do about the outside world I guess but it did spoil that Italian fantasy a little in the beginning.


The picture on the left is the view from our table and the one on the right is from the main window.

However that was only a small complaint… We were greeted warmly and were soon looking through an extensive menu with lots of Italian favourites.
The menu states that they have a One Metre Pizza challenge. Finish the pizza in 45 minutes and you will get a VIP card entitling you to free dining for six months! I think hubby was thinking about giving this a go but couldn’t justify all those calories. I have no doubt he could have done it. In fact I think I would have been able to do it as well!!

Instead I went for the Osso Bucco and hubby went for the Arrosto Misto.
After we ordered the server brought some bread and a couple of slices of focaccia to table.
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We also got some oil and balsamic vinegar and butter. Not only was this complimentary, but after I got my main, I asked for a slice of bread (because the sauce in it was just too good to not be mopped up) and the server brought out ANOTHER plate of bread, focaccia AND some zeppole!! Along with the oil and balsamic vinegar dish and more butter.  This was all complimentary! Who does that anymore? It was a really nice touch.

So on to our mains.
Hubby ordered Arrosto Misto. Mixed grill of Italian sausage, Meatball pattie, Scotch Fillet Steak, Pork Belly wrapped asparagus served with peppers and potatoes and Italian Salad.
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What a lovely vision this plate was as it was put down in front of hubby!! So many meats. Beautiful smells, beautiful colours… it was almost too good to eat!
Hubby was a little worried though because when the server took his order, she didn’t ask him how he wanted his steak cooked. Hubby always asks for it medium rare and this one was medium however it still was very tasty. In fact I think it was his favourite of all the meats on the dish.

I had Osso Bucco. Sicilian style Osso Bucco served with Garlic Mash
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It’s a little hard to make this kind of dish look attractive in a picture but I could smell it before it was even put down in front of me and I just knew I’d have to have more bread when I saw all that sauce!!!
Nothing about this dish disappointed. It was exactly all I hoped it was going to be.  The meat was just so beautifully tender. The sauce was sweet and flavourful and was begging to be mopped up with the wonderful bread they’d brought out.
This is my idea of comfort food!! There’d be nothing better to eat on a cold Winter’s day accompanied by a full bodied red.

Like I mentioned, I soon forgot we were situated so close to the main road and just enjoyed my surroundings and the wonderful tastes of my dinner.

I would have no hesitation in recommending Cafe Settebello.

Have you been to Cafe Settebello?
What did you think?
Let me know in the comments below!!

Till next we chow…

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Le Riad

neo_img_imgp5747.jpgToday on the Dining Diaries…

Carpet and guns on the walls,
America Ferrera is now waiting tables and
Food that has us saying “we’re coming back” just after a couple of bites.

A “riad” is a traditional Moroccan house or palace with an interior garden or courtyard.

Le Riad is a place that’s almost hidden even though it’s situated on a main road and right by a very popular pub/restaurant. This place had been recommended to me by someone I trust so I was eager to try the food.
They advertise as having real Moroccan cuisine and when I looked at the menu on line, I knew I was going to have trouble ordering as everything sounded good and new (to me)

I wondered if I should even make a booking but when we got there I was glad we did as there was only one table available and that was for us. The place was packed!

The first thing we noticed was the deadened sound. In other places we go to, due to modern decor, every clang and chink is amplified as sound bounces off every surface but at Le Riad, the carpet on the floor and the rugs on the wall deaden it all.
It had me feeling a little unsettled at first!
The next thing we noticed were the guns on the wall. Although this unnerved us a little too, there was still something homey and comfortable about the place. We couldn’t put our finger on it just then but later we noticed that there were both families and couples dining and not one person (bar me) had their phone out! Can you imagine that? In a crowded albeit small restaurant, no one was playing with their phone.
I felt like I’d been picked up and thrown into another time and country.

It was also very red and very dark in there. I tried to take some photos but they were all poor quality, as with pictures of the food I took, there just wasn’t enough light.
Having said that, if your aim is to have a nice romantic dinner and you have no need to photograph your food, then you are in for a treat.

We looked through the menu and on each page I changed my mind about what I was going to eat. Everything seemed so exciting to me! Lots of authentic dishes to choose from.
I ended up ordering the Goat Tajine – Goat and mixed vegetables gently cooked with a mix of Moroccan herbs and spices.
Hubby ordered the Mixed Grill – Lamb, chicken, kefta, merguez sausage, served with hummus and bread.
And just because we wanted to sample more, we ordered Lamb Couscous – A traditional Moroccan dish.Couscous is steamed over spiced lamb and vegetables
I also desperately wanted to try some of the Moroccan bread they had on the menu but sadly they were out.

Our waitress was so lovely, friendly and accommodating and bore a striking resemblance to America Ferrara.

We arrived at the restaurant just before 7.30pm. At 8.18pm I noticed that our food hadn’t arrived yet. In any other place I would have noticed this a lot sooner but there is a lot to take in on your first visit to Le Riad.
You can only see so many dishes of hot steaming food going out to other tables before food envy sets in.
At 8.23 and tummies are really gurgling now… but let me add, we were happy. We weren’t grumpy, we were just more excited to try what we had ordered.
8.26 and America Ferrara look alike comes and sincerely apologises for the wait and offers us free drinks. Now how lovely is that! We hadn’t complained, we were sitting there smiling and talking, yet she still came over with this lovely gesture! Double ticks for that!

Ten or so minutes later our food came. I just love it when the first thing you notice about your food is the smell! It was heavenly and not like anything I had smelt before so it’s a little hard for me to describe. I don’t know what traditional Moroccan spices are.
It was definitely hearty and rich and just what you’d want on a fresh Autumn night.

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Goat Tajine

 

My Goat Tajine was exquisite.

Again, I have to apologise for the picture quality as it was really very dark in there.

Hopefully you can imagine how wonderful this dish was. Rich with flavour and colourful it was very very inviting to eat. I felt like I’d been transported to deliciousness heaven.
The goat was amazingly tender and I had to wonder why we don’t eat this meat more often.

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Mixed Grill

 

Hubby, being a meat lover, ordered the mixed grill and he wasn’t disappointed either.

A nice sized dish with lovely elements. The meat and bread had a charred smokey taste
The hummus was fresh and lovely when eaten with that crispy bread.

.There really wasn’t anything we didn’t like!

 

 

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Lamb Couscous

Lastly we sampled our Lamb Couscous. I must admit, I found it hard to find pieces of lamb but even so, it was equally delicious. The cous cous was light and springy and I loved the burst of coriander I tasted every now and then. I wondered later if I had ordered a chicken cous cous, if it would have given me a different flavour throughout as I didn’t think the lamb taste was particularly strong however still a very enjoyable dish.

All in all we loved our time at Le Riad. The restaurant is comfortable, the wait staff are lovely and I’m pretty sure this is a family run business. They genuinely want you to have a good time and to love the food as much as they do.

On Saturday’s they also have a belly dancer come in and do some belly dancing. It’s a shame we didn’t go on a Saturday! That would have been a treat!

I’m eager to go back and try some more items from the menu.

Have you been to Le Riad?
What did you think?
Let me know in the comments below!!

Till next we chow…