A Tavola, Darlinghurst
A Tavola is Italian for ‘to the table’, it was established in 2007 by chef owner Eugenio Maiale. It certainly has been a while since my last visit to A Tavola. I was trying to figure out where to have my birthday dinner with ‘The Mother’ and suggested this place. I know ‘The Mother’ has never been and I had a feeling that he would like this place.
Upon entering the restaurant, there is a 10 metre long communal table stretched the length of the room. Two large blackboards are hung on the wall with daily specials scrawled in Italian. Thankfully we were given menus, as it would take me forever to figure out what was what, and our friendly waiter explained each dish to us.
We started with the complimentary bread, home-made focaccia with fennel and rosemary. It was accompanied by small dish of chili infused olive oil which was absolutely divine!
I remember the serving being quite large, so thought we would skip entrée. I couldn’t go past the GNOCCHI con PISELLI e FUNGHI ($33) – house made potato gnocchi, pea puree, king brown and oyster mushroom. It was indeed a GENEROUS serving.
The gnocchi was incredibly soft and pillow-y. Don’t be put off by the green colour, the pea puree was absolutely wonderful, it wasn’t strong and the mushroom a wonderful complement. It was sprinkled with bread crumbs, which gave it that extra crunch. It was definitely one of the nicest gnocchi I have had.
‘The Mother’ opted for PESCE con BROCCOLINI e CAPERI ($37), pan fried ocean trout, it was slightly pink in the middle, served with broccolini, tomato, caperberry and kipfler potato. ‘The Mother’ doesn’t usually order fish when dining out, he usually finds that they are over cooked, but he said this was excellent. The ocean trout was cooked perfectly.
We ordered a side of Baby cos, tomato, basil, cucumber, olives ($15) – which complemented our dish well.
For dessert, we thought we would share the CREMINO al CIOCCOLATO ($14) – served in a coffee mug, chocolate, hazelnut, Italian meringue with salted caramel ice cream. It had me at salted caramel ice cream. It was deliciously rich, deliciously creamy and deliciously excellent! It was the perfect way to end the meal.
Service was impeccable, but it did get a little noisy towards the end of the evening, with large group of people sitting in the middle.
The food is as good as I remembered it to be, simple Italian at its best. I don’t know why it has taken me this long to return, definitely keen to come back and have the half-moon shaped ravioli, perch, capers, mascarpone, lemon and heirloom tomatoes – yum! But the gnocchi was incredibly tasty! Wouldn’t hesitate to have it again.
It was a pretty low key but lovely birthday celebration with ‘The Mother’. Next year will be a different kind of birthday, it won’t just be the two of us anymore, but I am sure looking forward to this year! Lots of changes coming!
GA’s ratings: 8 / 10
348 Victoria St
Ph: +61 2 9331 7871