Quattro Paste, Balmain

This tiny Italian 40 seater is in the quieter part of Balmain, and you’ll be welcomed with open arms by the friendly staff who’ll kiss your babies and squeeze your cheeks. The menu, like the restaurant, is compact and not overly fussy, and what you’d expect to find at a neighbourhood trattoria in Italy, with a blackboard sketching out a few extras.

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We start with some stuffed zucchini.  I’ve downed a good few of these in my time, but I’ve never had a creamy potato and eggplant filling, and it’s delicious.  The four are great value at $15.
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This is followed by a fritto misto, mostly calamari and a few prawns.  The calamari is a little chewy but the flavour is good.
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Then onto our pasta choices for the night.  I loved the terracotta dishes they served them all in. First is the tagliatelle with ragu.  The tagliatelle have great consistency and are well cooked. I had high hopes for the ragu sauce, but it lacked the depth and flavour of say Sopra, Gatto Matto or A Tavola.  A good smattering of parmesan helped.

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Gnocchi (with the same ragu sauce) – again the gnocchi are excellent little pillows with good consistency. Certainly this Tuscan mob know how to make pasta.
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Ravioli with Burrata.  This dish was unfortunately a let down. First the serve was very small compared to the other dishes.  The amount of burrata inside was also very small and hard to taste, and the sauce was very salty.

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And finally a mushroom risotto  – well flavoured and an easy eat.

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Then onto the sweets.  I have to give the tiramisu a whirl and out comes a big bowl and our waitress scoops out a generous spoon.  And its an absolute knock out, pretty much up there with my Mamma Rosa’s.  I was tempted to ask the waitress to leave the whole bowl!

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We also tried the chocolate and pear cake.  This was very very dry, you really needed to mix it with the gelato.  The vanilla gelato seemed to have a hint of lemon or something, and was delicious.

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It is reasonably priced, you can eat here for $40-45, and there is a selection of Italian wines by the glass or carafe. Its not quite the suburban Italian gem, but has a lot of potential.

Quattro Paste, 85 Reynolds St, Balmain, Ph 02 9810 9125
http://www.quattropaste.com.au/

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