Tag Archives: Mercato e Cucina

The hunt for Sydney’s best cannoli – part II

After sharing my post on Sydney’s best cannoli to an “Italians in Sydney” group, there was a bit of an outcry that I didn’t include Mezzapica.  It was not intentional, I just forgot about them (my brother-in-law too shook his head in disbelief).  Which is a bit odd, considering that at the two hundred or so Italian weddings I went to at the Mediterranean House and Festival House growing up, everyone got their wedding cake and other sweets from Mezzapica.  And we also used to buy cakes, cannoli and biscuits from there for family occasions.  But somewhere along the way my mother became a devotee of Blue Star, and this became the default cannoli location.  My first test included Blue Star, Marineve, Tamborrino and Dolcetti.  It was time for round two.

So one sunny morning, off I went to Leicchardt to Mezzapica.    I also recently tried some great cannoli at a friend’s birthday party, and she told me they were from Cavalicious, so I decided to stop in there on the way home, and a little further up the road at newcomer Mercato e Cucina.   Once again, traditional ricotta flavour had to be the benchmark.

cannoli2

And yes, the masses were right.  The Mezzapica cannoli were fantastic, crunchy shell, creamy not-too-sweet ricotta.  But I have to say, Cavalicious, while a slightly different flavour to its shell, were excellent too, will definitely be buying both of these again. Mercato e Cucina’s version was probably my least preferred of all seven (gosh I am glad I did this in two parts, imagine eating seven at once) – loved the pistachio topping, but the filling and the casing, while good, just weren’t to the standard of all the others.

A good bit of time after this, I tried the cannoli from Dolcettini.  I’ve been wanting to get there for an age, but I don’t find myself in Dural often as its quite a hike.  But wow, I think the drive is worth it! Crunchy case, gorgeous filling, an all round excellent package. Right up there!

dolcettini

You’ve got to admit, regardless of your cannoli preference, that it is great to be this spoilt for choice.

Mezzapica Cakes, 130 Norton Street Leichhardt, ph (02) 9569 8387
http://www.mezzapica.com.au

Cavalicious Patisserie Cafe, 213 Victoria Road, Gladesville, ph (02) 9879 7378
http://www.cavalicious.com.au

Mercato e Cucina, 297 Victoria Road, Gladesville, ph (02) 9817 9457
http://www.mercatoecucina.com.au

Dolcettini Patisserie, 829 Old Northern Road, Dural ph (02) 9653 9610
http://www.dolcettini.com.au

Mezzapica on Urbanspoon

Cavalicious Patisserie Cafe on Urbanspoon

Mercato e Cucina, Gladesville

mercato1

It was a bad day when Vanessa Martin closed the one hatted Il Piave on Darling Street – her pasta dishes were always right up there.  Its been a long time between drinks, but finally here she is again running the show at Mercato e Cucina, where one side operates as a “mercato” where you can buy fruit and vegetables, meat, charcuterie, pasta, olive oil, and the other side as the “cucina” where you can enjoy a quick pizza or a long and leisurely meal.  The wine list too is fairly impressive, and the cocktails were unexpectedly good though a little on the small side for the price.

We start with the salumi board, a very attractively presented board with some top quality prosciutto, ham and the like which you can buy to take home from the store.  The olives too were fat and delicious.  We also go for the pork belly, which is tender and juicy; it has an onion jam on top which has a tang and a cabbage and apple salad underneath.

mercato2mercato6

The calamari was beautifully cooked and the accompanying mint, caper and red onion aioli is bursting with flavour.  The scallops on the other hand, served with a sweet corn puree with basil oil and crispy herbs fall a little short, I find them bland despite all the surrounds, perhaps a touch underseasoned.

mercato3mercato4

The pizza gets approval from around the table, a good crust and quality toppings.  The buffalo mozzarella is generous, no skimping here, and the seafood pizza too is beautifully fresh.  But the menu doesn’t mention that it is also full of anchovies, and it should, since it is one of those polarising ingredients.  I find they overpower the delicate mussels and vongole.

mercato5mercato10

And then comes a bit of a showstopper and the dish of the day – a white mushroom risotto with burnt butter and truffle pecorino.  Seriously rich and seriously good. I think it will go on my list of Sydney’s must have pasta dishes.

mercato7

The other pasta dishes also shine – the squid ink fettucini, and then a succulent ragu, topped with ricotta salata (and be warned, it is salty, so just take it off if its not your thing).  They are generous, which is what Italian food is all about.

mercato8mercato9

We were too full for desert, so I’ll have to try that next time.

I’ve seen a lot of negative reviews on this place, mostly directed at service.  I couldn’t really fault the food and we were warmly welcomed and the waiter we had was very polite.  They do however need a few more floor staff, particularly on a busy Saturday night, to make sure everyone is attentively looked after – if there are any shortcomings, it was that a few extra hands on deck would have been useful.

There’s also a semi private dining room and some well priced banquet menus.

mercato11

mercato13

mercato12

020 (2)

Mercato e Cucina, 297-307 Victoria Road, Gladesville, ph (02) 9817 3457
http://www.mercatoecucina.com.au/

Mercato e Cucina on Urbanspoon