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…

Gusto Ristorante

Today on the Dining Diaries…

Authentic Italian food soothes a raging craving,
Noise levels make it hard to communicate and
Befuddled servers amuse.

gusto-ristorante-norwood-restaurants-9aa4-938x704.jpgDiners today we are at Gusto Ristorante on the very popular Norwood Parade.

I tried to search for a website but couldn’t find one which is surprising as it’s a popular place and the server told me they’d been around for about fourteen years.

I may not have looked well enough though…

It was Friday night when we dined and most of the tables were full of people chatting and generally having a good time. We were shown to a table and given a couple of menus.

The wait staff seem pretty friendly although it did take them a very long time to come back and take our order.

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The first thing I noticed as I entered Gusto’s was the noise level. Maybe that has something to do with my age but it was difficult to speak over the noise of everybody else.

The decor seems simple but elegant maybe even semi industrial as there were exposed wires and cables here and there.

There didn’t seem to be anything overt to suggest we were entering an Italian restaurant, although there were pizza signs out on the street.

While we waited for the waiter to come back for our order, I couldn’t help but look at the food on other people’s tables and most of it looked so good! The serves were very generous (the pasta dishes in particular)

Finally our server returned and we were able to place an order. He dutifully took it and off he went.  About ten minutes later, another waiter comes and stands awkwardly at our table. He’s looking at a folder in his hand, then looking at us, then steps back, then steps forward again. I realised that he was holding someone’s bill.
“Did you ask for your check?” he asks timidly.
“No we haven’t eaten yet” I said smiling. It was a pretty funny moment.

We wanted to sample the food from their wood oven but didn’t particularly want a pizza so hubby chose to have the Calzone. Unfortunately I didn’t get the menu description because it was on the “Specials” menu.

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This picture probably makes it seem smaller than it was as the calzone was quite a decent serve. I tried some of the dough as that is my favourite bit and it was beautifully spongy and doughy on the inside, yet toasty and crunchy on the outside.
The server asked hubby if he wanted any chili’s with it and she brought it out in a bowl with olive oil.
fullsizerenderI hadn’t seen it presented like that before and hubby just fell in love with it!!

It was a great addition to his meal. He said the chili really enhanced the flavours that were already present.

I didn’t try any of the filling but hubby said it was just perfect. I could see that the filling was actually a substantial amount. Sometimes when you order a calzone you end up getting more air inside than filling.

It was satisfying and delicious and just what a calzone should be.

Being a good Italian girl I love my pasta but decided to step away from my usual go to of Fettucini, and ordered the Cannelloni di Ricotta, Spinaci e Zucca – Layers of House Made Pasta Sheets Filled with Pumpkin, Spinach & Ricotta Cheese Topped with Napoletana Sauce & Fresh Basil

fullsizerender1My picture does not do it justice at all. It looks like a mess of tomato sauce but honestly, this dish was just so divine!

I have to say though, the stars of this dish were the pasta and the pasta sauce.
The pasta was cooked beautifully and the menu states that the pasta is “house made”.
I specifically asked the waiter about this because it was so impressive and she told me that the owner’s mother makes all the pasta.
My little mind started ticking over thinking, if she’s making ALL the pasta on her own, for all the business this restaurant does, she must never do anything else in life than make pasta!!!
Later on another server told me that she only makes some of the pasta, but that they get the rest, including the pasta they use for the Cannelloni, from another supplier.

The sauce was a beautiful distraction also. I say distraction because I really didn’t notice the filling. I’m not sure I could taste it, there wasn’t that much of it there, but it didn’t matter to me as every mouthful of that pasta and sauce was enriching my Italian soul.

I’ve read a few reviews of Gusto’s and felt perhaps some were a little harsh. Based on my own experience I would have no hesitation in going there again.
It’s still a very popular place and I figure people wouldn’t keep going if they didn’t like what the restaurant had to offer.

Give me a good wine and a nice plate of pasta and you’ll find one happy woman!

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

Till next we chow…

Pizza e Mozzarella Bar

Today on the Dining Diaries,

We discover pizza in Naples must be just ‘ok’
“Hype” can have a negative affect and
When the moon hits your eye and it ain’t a pizza pie, there’s no amore’ to be found.

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Today the Dining team were in Adelaide CBD.

We have heard a LOT of buzz about the Pizza e Mozzarella Bar situated in Pirie st.
I had even previously tasted a slice or two when a pizza had been taken back to the office by one of my work colleagues and had been impressed.

I had also heard Matt Preston from the Australian version of Masterchef say that this place has the best pizza outside of Naples

I didn’t want to let past experience sway me though, and just wanted to judge my dining experience on the present – as with all my reviews.

My reviews aren’t meant to be a be all and end all, just a written account of my opinions on the day I went into an establishment. FullSizeRender (44)

When you first walk into the Pizza e Mozzarella Bar, you walk into an invitingly warm room. The smell hits you first.

Woodfired pizza’s cooking means there’s a heavenly smokey smell throughout, with hints of garlic and tomato.

FullSizeRender (43)The carpet and mismatched water glasses make you feel like you’re at your nonna’s place.

It definitely whet’s your appetite!

A waiter addressed us as soon as we walked in, set us at a table and explained the specials to us. He was very thorough and persuasive because I ended up choosing the meatball entree that he suggested. Hubby went for the Capricciosa Pizza.
You can also view their menu online which I usually find handy.

When the dishes came to the table I was pretty excited. I could smell the tomato and basil coming from mine and it had been smothered in a gorgeous sauce.
I couldn’t wait to try it!

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The meatballs were pork and veal (from memory) mince and had mozzarella cheese in the middle.

It’s not in the photo but this dish also comes with four slices of continental bread which is just heavenly!! So deliciously fresh and soft.

I started mopping up my sauce with the bread before I’d even tasted the meatball!

That sauce was just divine and probably the best thing I had in this place tonight.

I’m sorry to say that while hubby didn’t have an awful experience with his pizza, he didn’t love it either.

FullSizeRender (46)The dough was really spongy and fresh and tasted great. The only problem was, the centre of the pizza was watery and soggy.

He wasn’t able to pick up a slice. Maybe that’s how they do them in Naples? Although I’ve been to Naples and I don’t remember the pizza’s being like that.

I felt really disappointed for him because I knew he must he was looking forward to having some good pizza.

The pizza had a bit of a rustic look. He also felt like there wasn’t enough toppings. The photo doesn’t really bring out how barren the pizza was. However, I can attest to the fact that in Italy, the pizza’s are like that. Hubby has a Canadian/American background and I’ve seen the way they pile on the toppings over there then smother it was cheese and more cheese. Sadly this pizza was barren however, what was on there DID taste good.
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The music that was playing when we were there was eighties and nineties pop. I would have thought they could have gone for something Italian – something more authentic. It was sometimes a distraction.

I was told they make that beautiful bread I ate in-house and in fact, I could buy some to take home if I wanted.
The restaurant also does cooking classes which may interest some people. Their website gives you more information.

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For the dollars that this place asks, and for the reputation that it has, I would have expected a little more and I’m sorry to say we were a bit disappointed and not entirely full when we left.

After strolling through the city, we went to the Adelaide Central Markets and made everything right again with a couple of treats!

Love the Adelaide Markets!

Have you been to the Pizza e Mozzarella Bar?
What did you think?
Let me know in the comments below!

Till next we chow…

Turning Japanese – Part Eight

We woke up to a drizzly day in Osaka. The first day we’ve had here with rain.
Not to worry, our airbnb host has umbrellas in our room so after googling a few places we wanted to visit, we were off… on foot…

I think you get to see a lot more if you go on foot. The only thing you have to be conscious of are the people on bicycles. I would love to know what the accident rate is here.

Our first stop was the Kuromon Market. This place is just amazing!!! Wall to wall people. We were there on a Sunday and I’m not sure how that compares to other times during the week but it was difficult to walk through!
I’ve heard that vendors come here to purchase produce for their restaurants.
If you were a seafood lover you would NOT want to leave this place!
Unfortunately, I’m not a seafood lover and the smell was making me feel ill, however, for everyone else, it was heaven.
I’ll share a few pics I took while in the market with you.

 

After wandering through the markets we found a place to have some lunch. I’ve seen this chain around the place in Tokyo and in Osaka – Italian Tomato – Yes, we went Western again.

Although I’ve been told Italian food is not that great here, I didn’t mind it.
I have been craving pasta and bread though so maybe that had something to do with it.
I chose a spaghetti bolognese
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The menu says that the meat is angus beef.

As I told hubby while I was eating it, if I’d been served this in Fasta Pasta, I probably wouldn’t have been happy however everything was ok. The pasta was ok, the sauce was ok… the parmasen cheese on top was ok…

As “ok” as it was, it was exactly what I wanted so I was happy with it.

Even as it repeated on me for the next couple of hours,  I was happy.

I love my pasta…

 

Hubby chose the doria with hashed beef and soft boiled egg. What is doria I hear you ask… Doria was originally created in France however now is found almost exclusively in Japan. It’s basically a rice gratin. The rice is either flavoured or topped with other ingredients such as bolognese sauce or sauteed prawns, covered in white suace and cheese and then grilled.FullSizeRender-32

 

Hubby was really happy with this. The egg was gloriously runny.

Unfortunately we hadn’t ordered bread with it otherwise it would have been good to mop up that egg with some bread.

There were quite a few people in this restaurant and all were using forks…. another comfort for me even though I’m becoming quite a pro with chopstickts.

 

 

 

FullSizeRender-40I’ve got to show you a pic of the napkins in this place as I thought they were pretty cute.

 

Don’t you just love them!! Loving, singing, eating.

 

It’s all about me and not necessarily in that order either!

 

 

 

 

 

 

When we left that place we got a scrumptious cake from the bakery next door.

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How could I go past it? It has my initial on the top!!!

It was filled with smooth sweet custard and such great value! This cake was only 100 yen.

The food here is just amazing.
Hubby and I walked to another food market which was about two kilometers away. Again, wall to wall people. Where do they all come from!!! We got another pastry from there and then walked back to our room for a little rest before dinner.

For dinner, we went to the same place we went to yesterday. We’d seen these enormous bowls of noodles going out of there yesterday and we wanted what they were having!
This time, when the server saw us coming up, he immediately got one of his work mates. Apparently the workmate spoke English.
I really applaud him for trying but we didn’t communicate. I pointed to what we wanted on the menu but I had no idea what it was. If I’d thought about it I would have taken a picture to share with you guys, then someone might have been able to tell me what we’d eaten!

In any case, two enormous bowls came out. They were full of noodles and veggies and it was so goddam tasty!! I just loved it!
I left my hand in the pic so you can get some perspective of how big this bowl was.

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And look at me using those chopsticks like a champion!! (Not really but it’s a photo and I can get away with writing that)

Tomorrow we’re hoping to get to Kyoto!! Can’t wait!