Tag Archives: Pilu

Young Guns dinner @ LuMi Dining

The Young Guns series is a clever collaboration between four Italian restaurants and their four great chefs – Federico Zanellato (LuMi), Victor Moya (Ormeggio), Matteo Zamboni (Pilu), and Mitch Orr (ACME) – with hosts Alessandro Pavoni and Giovanni Pilu. Each restaurant is taking a turn at hosting a dinner and showcasing dishes. The degustation was $80, or $125 with matching wines, so it was a great value – and delicious – evening. There was an extra dish on offer for $10 which we readily agreed to.

First Course: LuMi “snacks”
Salt and vinegar rice chips – heavenly lightyoungguns (2)

Porcini Brisee with Marscapone and a Macaron with onion and chicken liver. Loved them both; the porcini brisee had a beautiful crumbly texture and was something new and different, as was the savoury macaron.youngguns (3)

Jerusalem artichoke chips – very clever. I love Jerusalem artichoke but would usually use it four puree or soupyoungguns (4)

And of course LuMi’s signature Chawanmushi. The last time I came here I had it with tomato water; this time it was with an onion consommé and a little caviar. The texture on that custard! I have to say that LuMi has been one of my favourite dining experiences so far this year and the meal that night reaffirmed it.youngguns (5)

This was followed by some warm delicious bread and grissiniyoungguns (6)

Second course: Ormeggio roasted capsicum and mozzarella salad with Mediterranean herbs. A feast for the eyes as well as the palate. The texture of the balls reminded me of the liquid gnocchi at Gastro Park. Very clever and freshyoungguns (7)

Third course: Pilu’s Cappelletti with lentils, red wine and vegetable broth. Zamboni explained to us that this dish was completely vegan, not something you find often in Italian cooking. It was an interesting dish and with each mouthful you could taste different elements of the flavour.youngguns (8)

Fourth course: ACME’s pig’s head with cime di rapa and condiments. Don’t think too much about the fact that you are eating a pig’s head and dig in! Loved the flavour combination here; rich juicy pork cut through with the bitterness of the rapa, and I particularly loved the soy and vinegar dipping sauce, which Mitch told us was actually based on a Filippino sauce.youngguns (9)

Fifth course (extra course): Lumi Burrata, honey, rosemary and vinegar meringue, served with casarau. Oh! This was a table favourite. Devine! What a combination! And then if you threw in some crispy bits of casarau, a specialty Sardinian crispy bread, it became even better. This could have passed as a dessert.youngguns (10)

youngguns (11)Sixth course: LuMi’s Yuzu with licorice and mandarin curd. The plate was freezing cold and Federico tells us that it has been put in the blast chiller at -25 degrees. This was wonderfully light and fresh with a good amount of acidity and those wafer like pieces of licorice adding texture.youngguns (12)

Some pictures of the Young Guns and hosts. Zanellato’s brother Riccardo is all boyish charm; Matteo is sweet and softly spoken and Giovanni Pilu is quick to point out that he is already married ladies! (there’s A Tea with the Queen next to Signore Pilu). I ask Mitch if he’s considered an honorary Italian – “I’m pure Inner West” – he tells us. Alessandro is as effervescent as always. A really great evening – there are two more Young Guns dinners in the series.youngguns (14)youngguns (1)youngguns (13)

LuMi Dining, http://www.lumidining.com
Ormeggio, http://www.ormeggio.com.au
ACME, http://www.weareacme.com.au
Pilu, http://www.piluatfreshwater.com.au

Thank you


I would like to sincerely thank the wonderful, kind, and generous people at Sydney Seaplanes, Gastro Park, Buon Ricordo, Longrain, A tavola, Three Blue Ducks, Pendolino, Billy Kwong, Salt Meats Cheese, Ormeggio, Sydney Seafood School, Sake, Sopra, Ghermez, and Pilu.

With their help, I was able to raise $11,200 for the Leukaemia Foundation of Australia.

The Leukaemia Foundation is the only national not-for-profit organisation dedicated to the care and cure of patients and families living with leukaemias, lymphomas, myeloma and related blood disorders. They receive no ongoing government funding and rely solely on the generosity of the Australian community.

From the bottom of my heart, thank you. It will long be remembered.


Sydney’s must have pasta dishes

I have an obvious inherent bias towards Italian food. Due to my very traditional father, it was the only cuisine I experienced until I was about 18 years old. This wasn’t exactly a hardship, with things like fresh pasta, homemade salami (I still can’t eat shop bought), roast quail, osso buco, braised artichokes, knockout tiramisu and the like being regular features on Mamma Rosa’s menu.  But I’ve decided that Australia over the last 30 years, also has developed this bias.  I recently have been sending these write ups to a friend in London who left Australia some years back and other than Tetsuyas, the names he recognised, or asked if they were still around and got a positive, were the Italian ones – Australia’s love of Italian food has led to some impressive longevity in the restaurant stakes. In the inner city, Buon Ricordo, Lucio’s, Beppi’s, Bambini Trust, Buzo, Otto, A tavola, for instance, have all clocked up serious mileage, some of them two decades (do restaurants starting with B have higher survival rates?). And then you’ve got all the suburban staples like La Perla, Il Piave, Grappa, Il Perugino, La Rustica, Il Vicolo, some of which have been open since my parents migrated here.

These are the pasta dishes to look out for, in no particular order

The slow cooked 24 hour ragu Bolognese at Sopra

The vincisgrassi at Buzo (worthy of a scene from When Harry Met Sally)

The truffled egg fettucini at Buon Ricordo

The timballo Napolitano at Buon Ricordo

(And while you’re at it, the rigatoni with salted rock cod at Buon Ricordo, not always there but appears annually)

The pappardelle with bone marrow ragu at Pendolino

The crab tagliolini at Lucio’s

The white mushroom, burnt butter and truffle pecorino risotto at Mercato e Cucina

The pappardelle with oxtail ragu at Via Alta

The fresh egg tagliatelle at my mothers (I’ll let you know when I get it right, WIP)

And on the off chance that Giovanni Pilu reads this, keep that malloreddus with crab and guanciale please.

Now I usually get abuse / looks of horror when I say this, but Sydney Italian is better than Melbourne Italian. Stop it, yes it is. Try as I might, I can’t come up with a list of ‘go to dishes’ in Melbourne like that. I adored the crab and nettle pasta at Bottega, went back a couple more times especially for it, and the duck risotto at Lupino was fabulous, why did you take them off the menu? I’m not saying there aren’t good Italian restaurants, there are plenty, but not the stayers on the menus (fickleness down south, or boring-ness up north?).  Speaking of Melbourne, if you do want some of the great Calabrese cuisine I’ve grown up with, Sarti gets a big tick from me.

I had the pleasure recently, thanks to a dear friend, of attending a small dinner with Antonio Carluccio. He was very charming and entertaining, clearly a huge ladies man back in the day, and it was lovely to hear his life story. That night we had this wonderful Pasta Forno, and the recipe actually appears on his website. www.antonio-carluccio.com/Pasta_Imbottita_con_Vegetali_al_Forno. I had a go at making it on the weekend – its not a pasta dish, its an extravaganza. It got thumbs up all round in the Napoli Household.

While I’m at it, might as well turn this into a bumper Italian issue.  Fabulous summary in the SMH recently.  Yes, Pasticceria Papa’s ricotta cake is the best you’ll find anywhere in Sydney. Love Tamborrino’s rum baba.  Surprised they didn’t mention Sulfaro’s cannoli? And I’ve been going to Ranieri’s deli with my mum since I began to walk.  Do yourself a favour and get some of their truffle pecorino. http://www.smh.com.au/entertainment/restaurants-and-bars/buon-appetito-a-guide-to-italian-sydney-20120924-26g97.html

Have a fabulous week. Buon appetito!

Buon Ricordo 108 Boundary Street Paddington  ph (02)9360 6729

Cafe Sopra 7 Danks Street Waterloo ph (02) 9699 3174

Lucio’s Italian Restaurant 47 Windsor Street Paddington  ph (02)9380 5996

Pendolino 412-414 George Street  Sydney  ph (02)9231 6117

Buzo 3 Jersey Road Woollahra  ph (02)9328 1600

Via Alta, 197 High Street, Willoughby, Ph (02) 99581110

Pilu at Freshwater Moore Road Freshwater  ph (02)9938 3331

Buon Ricordo on Urbanspoon