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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Fasta Pasta – South Tce

Today on the Dining Diaries…

I went to an Italian restaurant and didn’t order Fettucini,
A scantily clad salad fails to excite
Cheap prices and friendly staff ensure we will be back anyway..

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Diners today we were at Fasta Pasta located on the corner of South Tce and Pulteney St.

We were time poor and just wanted something that was going to be quick and easy and Fasta Pasta was on the way and fit the bill perfectly!

This location is on the edge of the city’s CBD but still had a good crowd at 2pm on a Sunday afternoon. The staff were friendly and attentive. In fact two different servers greeted us as we wandered around inside trying to find a where we wanted to sit.

Eventually we sat on the Eastern side. We had a nice view of the exposed brick wall. Maybe it was the nice sunny day but with the sun streaming through the windows and the decor inside, it seemed very relaxing.

Sorry my photos are so bad but I hope you get an idea of what I mean.

I was determined to not order my staple of Fettucini. It was hard not to! I mean I am in a pasta restaurant after all!!
I did notice some interesting menu items including “Hamburger Italiano” which I was tempted  to get but didn’t. Maybe another time.

Hubby and I noticed the prices seemed very reasonable and we figured the serves would be small for that price, we got some fries to start to fill our rumbling stomachs.

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As we have come to expect, it was a simple but good plate of fries. Fresh, with a bit of tomato sauce on the side and the serving was quite generous.

We were almost done with those when our mains came out.

I did end up getting a pasta. I chose the Cannelloni. Pasta tubes filled with ricotta and spinach, oven baked in napoli sauce, finished with cream, basil and baby spinach.

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I really didn’t know how to make this look pretty. It looked kind of sloppy when it came out but even though we eat with our eyes first, I was still hopeful that it was going to taste good.
I didn’t expect the napoli sauce to be on one side and the cream to be on the other.

I found it strange that I wasn’t able to cut through the cannelloni with my fork. The pasta was quite tough in places. I ended up having to use the knife and when I ate it, found it to be a bit hard and crunchy in places.
While this was not unpleasant, it wasn’t what I was expecting in a Cannelloni dish.
The filling was pretty good. I could taste that ricotta and the napoli sauce was very fresh and enhanced the whole dish.
I’m not a fan of cream sauces although I know a lot of people are. I could have done without that on the plate but honestly, for the price of this dish ($15 main) I was certainly not unhappy with what I’d received.

Hubby went for a non pasta dish. He finds it hard to go past a Pork Belly when it’s on the menu!
The menu states “Roman style crispy skin, slow roasted Pork Belly served on mashed potato with rocket, red onion and sticky balsamic.

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When it first came out hubby said he thought it looked like they’d brought him a caramel slice.
The first thing I noticed was that the salad seemed to have no dressing. It just looked like some greenery thrown on the plate. Hubby shifted a few leaves and found a spot that seemed to have some balsamic on it. At least that’s what we hoped it was.
Hubby said the flavour of the Pork was nice although it was a little dry and the skin was definitely not crispy. He liked the mashed potato even if I thought it looked dry (I didn’t taste it)
Again, for the price ($19.90) this was not a bad dish at all. We wanted something quick, reasonable and fairly honest and that’s what we got.

While this may not be the most exciting place around, it’s very much family friendly and you pretty much know what you’re going to get every time you visit.

I’m sure this will not be our last visit to a Fasta Pasta restaurant.

Have you been to Fasta Pasta on South Tce?
What did you think?
Let me know in the comments below!!

Till next we chow…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fedoras Restaurant

Today on the Dining Diaries…

We saw carpet, didn’t run, and experienced one of the best meals we’ve had in a while
We dine in an elegant and spacious dining room and
I’ve learned that a good Pork Belly is the true way to a man’s heart.

fedoraDiners today we were at Fedora’s Restaurant, just a short drive west out of the city’s CBD

From the moment I called to make the booking to the moment we walked out the door, they gave exceptional service.

I called late Saturday morning to make the booking and wasn’t sure we were going to get in. The person who answered had to speak to a manager and said he’d call me back. I really didn’t expect a call but true to his word, five minutes later he called back and we were in!

There were four of us dining tonight. The carpark was full but they have an attendant stationed there to let people know where else they can park and quickly stop anyone who mistakenly think they can park in the permit only areas on the streets nearby and not get a fine.

fed1We walked into a warm and spacious dining area. The smells hit us right away and I was so eager to see what the food would be like. I must admit being a little apprehensive when I saw carpet but there wasn’t a salad bar so I had no cause to be afraid!

I took the photo later in the evening but when we arrived, the place was full!! Yet the ambiance was such that we were able to have a conversation and be heard.

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I have to point out that salt on the table. You may remember when we were at “The Republic”  they had a similar salt bowl but no accompanying spoon. I like this idea much better…

I thought there was a good variety on the menu and was keen to try something a little different.

I noticed that with many menu items, you could choose “add ons” and create exactly the meal you want to have. I love that idea and have noticed more and more places are doing this.

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We decided to share a couple of entree’s to start.

Hahndorf Chorizo and a Japanese Entree Plate.

This was the first thing I sampled and oh wow!

The flavour hits you right away!

The chimi churi had such a kick!

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The other entree was the Japanese Entree Plate

Yakitori chicken skewers, vegetarian gyoza, salmon & nori rolls
I can’t emphasise it enough, everything on this plate was divine. From the nori rolls which were warm and gooey on the inside yet crispy and firm on the outer, to the gyoza and the tender and amazingly seasoned chicken. Everything was just to die for.

Now I had a raging hunger and my expectations for the main were very high!

The meals all came out at the same time which is always a plus.

I chose from the “Clean Eats” section of the menu. Vegan Paella but added Prawns which made it not so Vegan anymore.
(saffron rice, sofrito, roast garlic, artichoke, zucchini, roast capsicum & pistachio)

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I can still remember how delicious the prawns were. That was the first thing I tasted. I don’t know what they were cooked in, I tasted something unfamiliar but it was just divine! In fact this whole dish was really just perfect. The rice was crispy in places  and the flavour was amazing throughout. Sometimes you get diner’s envy, sometimes you’re the cause of diner’s envy!

One of our party chose the Chicken Kiev

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I don’t normally have a lot of chicken but this looked really good when it came out! As we know, chicken breast can easily come out dry but she said this was really moist and was cooked perfectly with beautiful flavours throughout… which seems to be the theme of tonight!

The two boys ordered the Pork Belly but with different “add ons”

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Hubby got extra pork and arancini balls with his serve.
They both said that the skin was crispy, (although one serve was definitely crispier than the other) that there was a beautiful flavour throughout and the meat was exceptionally tender and moist.
I had a taste of some of that salad and just LOVED it! It had fennel, coriander and orange. I think that may be my new favourite salad combination!

We were celebrating tonight and honestly couldn’t have asked for anything better.
I was a little surprised that we weren’t asked if we wanted more drinks at any time during the night but that wasn’t really a huge thing for me and if we wanted it, we could have flagged someone down.

The wait staff were all so polite and invested in us having a good time. I cannot recommend this place highly enough and if you do make the trip here, I’d love to know what you think!

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

Till next we chow…

The Republic

Today on the Dining Diaries…

A perfect Pork Belly restores hubby’s faith that such a thing exists,
A less than enthusiastic waitress perks up when she sees me scribbling in my notebook and
If you need to take thirty minutes or more to figure out to the cent how much everyone owes for what, then you probably shouldn’t be going to a place where you can’t split the bill…

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Diners today we found ourselves at The Republic. I had been here a few months earlier for a school reunion and thought it looked like a pretty cool place.  We were only meeting for drinks though, I didn’t even get to sneak a peak at the dining area that day…

I love the bar area. Great design, great lighting, great seating areas; It really is a place you want to relax and linger with a drink.

rep1We walked through this nice area to get to the dining area and I felt a little let down. It just doesn’t seem as exciting. To me, it looked a little dated (carpet) but still, I was eager to see what the food would be like here.

Unfortunately I didn’t take a photo of the bar area but there are plenty on their website.
The picture to the right is of the restaurant. I think it was the “green” on the walls and the carpet that put me off. All minor things…

The girl who greeted us seemed a little annoyed that she’d have another table to wait so close to the end of lunch service. There were two other groups in this restaurant when we came and she started to bring us to a table that was between the two. I asked if we could sit on the end table (for a bit of privacy) and it was like I’d asked her to perform a handstand. Grudgingly she took us to the end table and handed us some menus. She promptly told us that a couple of items on the menu weren’t available and a portion of the menu was for dinner service only (we were here for lunch) so that was a little disappointing. Hubby took a long time trying to figure out what he wanted but he eventually went for the Pork Belly. I chose the “Clean and Green Pasta” Spinach, fettucine, broccoli, kale, spring onion, peas, salsa verde.

Because we were quite peckish we started with a Duo of Dips.

rep2The waitress shuffled off to take care of our order and hubby and I noticed the salt on the table.

I guess it’s a cute little bowl but all I could think were the fingers that had been in there. Luckily, I normally don’t salt my food but if I were someone who did, I don’t think I’d be using any salt from that little bowl.

When the Duo of Dips came out, the waitress saw me scribbling into my  notebook (Usually I try to be discreet) and saw me taking photos of the food. From that point she was switched on and attentive. I shouldn’t be hard on her really, and I don’t mean to be, but the change was pretty dramatic.

rep3The dips were presented in an interesting way.

Firstly, I LOVE that they served this with carrots and cucumber!! Normally we get breads of some sort but I found this much lighter and nicer to eat.
They did also provide eight slices of sourdough bread which you might think is excessive but I’d rather excess than the opposite.

The dips themselves were quite nice. One was Egyptian Pumpkin and the other was a French Onion Dip.

They had a lovely consistency and flavour to them. I’m not normally a pumpkin person but this was really nice to eat.

While we were waiting for our mains to come out, one of the tables down the other end were discussing the bill. There were about eight in their party and I couldn’t believe how accurate to the cent their calculations were about who owed what. It became pretty amusing really. It wasn’t just a passing conversation this went on for twenty to thirty minutes! I had to think, if it really was that important, why wouldn’t they have gone somewhere where you order and pay at the same time!

When the mains came out, hubby was salivating.

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His Pork Belly really looked amazing!! And it tasted just as good. His one little complaint is that there was no crackling but what was there was tasty. I kept trying to ask him what it was like but all I got back was “mmmmmm” so I figured he was experiencing a food fantasy and didn’t press for more. Eventually he told me that it was the best Pork Belly he’d ever had. The Jus was a little sweet and he’d kept some of the bread over from the Dips and used that to mop it up. The Pork was just divine – he even stopped to compliment the chef on the way out.

I had been craving pasta before we even entered the restaurant and was glad they had one that appealed to me.

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I guess I kind of skipped over the bit in the menu where it said there were peas. It’s not that I don’t like peas, but I think their inclusion had more to do with their colour than anything else.
Having said that, the pasta was cooked really well, the broccoli was cooked but still had firmness and everything else worked well together – There was a bit of an olive oil taste as well which I loved. This was a really nice dish that I would have again, even with the peas if I had to.

If we do come to the Republic again, I’m not sure we’d eat in the restaurant. We’d probably just hang out at the bar with something from the bar menu.
It is an interesting place so I would definitely recommend a visit. The food was good and everything else just comes down to personal preference.

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

Till next we chow…