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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Rostrevor Pizzeria

Today on the Dining Diaries…

A Surf n’ Turf is really a Turf with a touch of Surf
Boiled veggies  (including cabbage) in water constitutes Minestrone and
Wonderfully welcoming staff and great aromas over promise food quality expectations.

FullSizeRender[4].jpgDiners today we found ourselves at Rostrevor Pizzeria. I used to live in the area but have never been here before! In fact, I’m not even sure I knew it existed and that’s why I was further surprised to learn that they’ve been around since 1988!
Since that time their restaurant has been featured in some local newspapers and they’ve won a few awards which they proudly display on one of their walls.

Hubby and I parked and as we approached the restaurant, we could already see the staff inside, eagerly looking out at us. It was like they couldn’t wait for us to come and try their food.  We opened the doors and immediately the gorgeous smells hit us. Pizza, tomato, garlic, basil…. everything you identify with Italian cooking.
I’m also pretty sure everyone that was working there greeted us! It was such a lovely welcome! It made me feel like these guys have a good working atmosphere and they’re proud of their food and what they produce and really want to share it with their customers.

I really, really, really wanted to like this place. I really really did.

We sat in the dining area which is separate to the “take away” area. We were first in the dining room but there were a few other tables of people by the time we left.
I asked the server a few questions about the menu and she was pretty knowledgeable.

Because I wasn’t too hungry and it was cold, I decided to go for the Minestrone and a serve of bruschetta.
Hubby chose the Surf n’ Turf.
Maybe if we’d chosen pizza’s this review would have been completely different but we’d had pizza just recently and didn’t particularly feel like having it again….

They did have one of my favourite wines on the menu so that was one thing I enjoyed!

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The restaurant is pretty comfortable to sit in and had a bit of a modern feel.

Not really very Italian and in my opinion, an Italian restaurant should always have Italian music playing.

This one didn’t have any music playing and the lack of background noise was quite noticeable.

The description of the Minestrone on the menu says “Thick Italian Vegetable Soup”
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Honestly, I wanted to like this sooooo bad. It wasn’t thick. It says “vegetable” so I wasn’t really expecting beef but I always put a bit of beef in my minestrone soup. There was no pasta in this either. Instead, what I got was some boiled veggies, including cabbage minus salt.

Ok, no time for tears, I really love bruschetta and was looking forward to this one as the server has confirmed that it was just toasted continental bread drizzled with olive oil, with tomato and basil on top. Perfect. Just as a good authentic bruschetta should be.

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The bread was nice and toasty but sadly that’s where the compliments end. I couldn’t taste the olive oil although I think I did see that some had been drizzled on there. The tomatoes weren’t “sweet”. In fact they barely had any taste but that could be a seasonal thing.. but the most unforgivable thing was the lack of fresh basil. I just could not taste it. I could see green flecks of something on my tomato. Was it just not fresh? Not basil? I don’t know!! But again, I was really disappointed and it’s such a shame as the service was pretty good.

Now onto Hubby’s Turf with a touch of Surf.

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Now it’s not like we order this regularly so maybe our expectations are wrong. See the two little prawns on top of the meat? That was the “surf” part.
The meat was ok. Beautifully tender in parts and full of gristle in others. I didn’t mind the taste of it but the heavy garlic sauce on top was a bit of a turn off.

I couldn’t see any pizza’s coming out from where I was but there was a fairly regular stream of people coming in to pick up pizzas. Maybe that’s where we went wrong… maybe we really should have had a pizza…

Unfortunately, even though there is obviously a lot of history here and the staff were so very lovely, I can’t see us ever going back to try any of the pizzas but please, if you’ve been here and have a different experience, I’d love to hear it!

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

Till next we chow….

The Rex Hotel

Today on the Dining Diaries…

We experience feel good “feels” as good as a nanna’s hug
We find the salad bar is more like a boiled veggie buffet and
Great food surprises and delights!
d66b3d7ce9584a6ff41e7ea3eb0ccfdc_featured_v2Diners today we find ourselves at The Rex Hotel.

To be honest I’m not sure I knew this place existed. Hubby suggested it as we were in the area and had a ravenous hunger, so we stopped in.

It seemed to be quite busy when we stepped in. Looking at the other diners I’d have to say the average age was probably about fifty five.
Still, there was something very embracing about the Rex Hotel. It was as comforting as going to nanna’s house when you were a kid. I almost expected someone to whip up a secret stash of boiled sweets and hand them to me as I walked through the door.

It was a very relaxed atmosphere and the staff and other diners were just so friendly. We even struck up a conversation with the couple dining next to us. It just felt like we were at a family or work function! Comfortable and predictable.

Hubby and I were soon perusing through the menu and I was impressed with the selection and the prices.

We ordered our food and made our way up with hopeful expectation to the salad bar. I know I’ve said negative things about salad bars in the past but there’s always that expectation isn’t there? Maybe this one will be a good one? Sometimes you do get lucky.
Today was not a lucky day.

It wasn’t awful, probably just boring. Some peas and carrots, broccoli etc. There was even some sliced potatoes in cream. I’m pretty sure it was supposed to be scalloped potatoes but it tasted like over boiled potatoes in fresh cream. Even though this part of our dining experience was not great, the meals we ordered seemed like they came from another kitchen!

I ordered Hokkien stir fry with added prawns.

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I could barely contain myself when this was put in front of me as it smelt so good!!! The added prawns were $6 extra and there were six of them on my plate. I guess that’s a pretty good deal.
They tasted soooo good! So juicy and full of garlic goodness that disgusted impressed my family for the rest of the day
The rest of the dish was pretty good. I particularly liked the snow peas as they just added so much flavour and freshness to each mouthful.

Hubby, the steak man, couldn’t go past the 500 gram Graziers Rump. It just looked so massive when it came to the table.

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The size of it actually is what initiated conversation with our neighbouring table.
To be fair, hubby did share some with me and I’m so glad because it was just so flavourful and tender. A beautiful cut of meat!

I hope it’s clear that although this hotel is clearly catering to an older crowd, I would happily come here again as the food (apart from the average salad bar) was great and the people, including the other diners, were just friendly. There’s a sense of familiarity about this place.

Like you’re stepping back to a time where things were simpler.

No doubt, hubby and I will visit this hotel again in the near future!

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

Till next we chow…

Vay Cay to Jay Jay – Part Twelve

We definitely got our steps in today!! And enjoyed a gloriously sunny day in beautiful Osaka. There is always something to see and do (and taste!) here.

 

I was a bit annoyed because we were going to the downtown area and hubby wanted to take the train. I wanted to walk it.
We ended up taking the subway and it was probably just as well because when we got to the downtown area, hubby decided he really really needed a Starbucks coffee.

IMG_4016We walked and walked and walked and walked. We walked more than if we’d walked from our apartment directly to the Starbucks in the downtown area.

We asked at an information booth and were given vague directions… we tried to find it using google maps but who knows what floor it was directing us to. We couldn’t find it.

Finally we looped back and found one in the Hep Building (where the giant rollercoaster is located) but it wasn’t open until 11am so we had to wait a little while.

Was it worth it? Well it was nice to sit down for fifteen minutes or so!!

After Starbucks we continued higher in the Hep building and found ourselves on a floor where we had no idea what was going on.
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There were pictures of girls on the wall and some kind of sign saying two girls were ok.

(I wish I’d taken a picture of that one!)

On the right is a picture I DID take while we were up there….

Oh and while we were walking around on those streets outside, we passed a guy who was actually using a rechargeable shaver as he walked! That’s being time efficient I guess.

I said in my last post that I didn’t want to eat local today. I could have been swayed but hubby and I walked past this Italian place that we didn’t get to go into last time we were here. The line was just too big!! Today there was no line although it was quite busy inside.

I’m glad we went there as we got a decent amount of food and it was not bad.

I was quite proud of myself too as although I couldn’t understand what the server was saying, I knew what she was saying and was answering accordingly. The only time I was stumped was when she tried to tell us that we could help ourselves to Miso Soup and water.
There was a nice gentleman sitting in the table next to us who translated (his English was very good!)

Hubby got some hamburger steak dish and I got pasta. We also got a small salad and “pizza” and a 250ml carafe of house wine. All of that came to 1700 yen!! (About $21 AUD) What a bargain!

 


I felt like I’d eaten quite a bit after that!
Hubby let me try some of his meat and it was really nice!
I asked in a quiet voice “Do you want to try some of mine” and he said “Rest easy, I’m not interested in yours”
He knows me well…

Next stop was Osaka Castle. I was surprised when hubby said to put it into google maps, to see how far it was. Usually that means he’s considering walking it. As it was about four kilometres, we did walk.

I love walking because I just think you get to see more. You see more of the local and not tourist areas and you see people doing whatever it is they do in their every day life.

 

We didn’t go inside the castle but we did get some delicious soft serve icecreams and had a rest under the shade of a tree. There are so many places you can get soft serve icecream from here!!!

IMG_4043As we were sitting there, we saw a guy all of a sudden drop to the ground. He seemed to be stretching. Hubby was just about to say “Look at that guy stretching on the ground. Why would he do that there?”

It seemed odd as he was in the hot sun.
Moments later a woman came up to him and asked if he was ok.

We couldn’t hear what he said but it seemed like he was saying he’d had a cramp. His shoe was off.

This woman proceeded to massage his foot and calf!!

I couldn’t imagine doing that to a stranger. He didn’t seem like he was in pain but I guess he was? I had to take a picture.

They walked off in different directions so they were definitely not together.

From Osaka Castle we walked back to our apartment near Namba Station. Yes we’ve done a lot of kilometres today!!

I decided I’d try to cook in this little kitchen in the apartment tonight as every time we go to the supermarket I see that beautifully marbled meat and I just wonder what it would taste like.

Unfortunately by the time we got there it was after 9pm and there was no nice marbled meat left… So we just got some pork and some other things and I still cooked but it was boring and not special so no pictures…

To finish things off I’ll just post a few pics and signs I saw about the place today.

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Vay Cay to Jay Jay – Part One

As you can tell from my title I’m completely delirious.
These next series of entries will be mostly about our current travels but I will try to keep them food related!
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Hubby and I woke up bright and early this morning to board our flight to Cairns. We’re headed to the wonderful country of Japan again but decided to spend a day in Cairns to break up our flying time.

I think the plane was lacking oxygen as hubby and I had a few strange exchanges on the way over…
Hubby : No boobs but you make up for it with your nice back. Baby got back
Me: You got the boobs in our relationship (and I then proceeded to squeeze his chest while saying “honk honk”)

We’re very classy….

Cairns was just as lovely as ever and after getting our hire car, we went straight to the beach and walked around admiring our favourite spots while having a heated discussion about Gay Marriage. Never a dull moment…


We were pretty hungry and decided to stop in at a past favourite, “Rattle and Hum” 
There’s just something about this place we like….
We were a bit naughty with our food selections….

Very delicious!!
And from where we sat we could see lots of food going out. There were a lot of burgers that’s for sure.
The pic on the left is of a steak sandwich and that meat was just so tender!!! It was really lovely and sooooo sinful to eat!

After lunch we walked some more and did a bit of window shopping. We talked a lot about our trip to Japan… I’m looking forward to being there tomorrow….

I’m not quite sure what to say about our Air BnB experience in Cairns, suffice to say that if you’re not a people person, you probably shouldn’t book rooms in other people’s houses.
But it’s all good!! We have somewhere nice and clean to spend the night and will come back with lots of stories!

An hour or so later…

I really don’t want to say anything against our Air BNB host as she was… well she was herself and unfortunately it didn’t really mix with who we are.
We spent a couple of hours in that room in her apartment then decided we’d probably be happier if we were in a hotel room so, we moved.
I can’t explain the relief.
I can’t explain in this post what we didn’t like as I’d hate for anything to get back to our host. In her way, she tried her best, it was just not for us.

Back to food….
After a day of travelling,
lots of  walking,
dealing with the anxiety of wondering where we were going to sleep,
wondering if anyone would walk into our bedroom while we were sleeping,
(or into the bathroom while we were showering)
physical and mental exhaustion took it’s toll and made us not want to leave our hotel room.

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After recouping in our hotel room, we walked to a nearby Woolies and got a couple of baguettes, some deli meats, sundried tomatos, olives, cucumbers and other goodies and made a jumbo size roll!!!
It was magnificent and really really hit the spot!!!

Tomorrow we’ll be in Japan where I’m sure I’ll have a bit of food anxiety but that doesn’t matter, that’s what being in a new culture is all about!

Mata chikaiuchini o ai shimashou! (Blame Google translate if that doesn’t make sense!!)

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