Another day, another Neil Perry restaurant…
Not that I am complaining, I do have a celebrity chef crush on Mr Perry and was more than happy to try his latest offering, Rosetta, an Italian restaurant at Crown Casino.
Rosetta isn’t actually in Crown, it is tacked on to the end in a separate box like building.
The interior is very pretty with different seating options, lots of marble and sparkly bits.
J had only made the booking three days before, and when asked if we wanted to sit inside or out, knowing that it was going to be the third day of over 40c he requested an indoor table. It was a good move, as it was way too hot to be outside, even with the light sprinkle of rain that managed to bring a little, but brief, relief. Even the waiters weren’t thrilled about having to stand outside.
We had a table at the very end of the restaurant, which might have been the boondocks to some, as it wasn’t in the middle of all the action, but we liked it. I had a view outside and the two tables either side of us were unoccupied until about two minutes before we left, making it a nice little private dining area for two.
We were also next to the wall of Italian celebrities.
The menus are either pink or a yellowy-green and they match the wait staff’s shirts.
Grissini sticks were waiting on the table, and we started with a cocktail each. J had a negroni and I had a clover club (raspberry infused Tanqueray gin, lemon, whites and grenadine).
The menu is spilt into easy-to-follow suggested courses, starting with antipasti, moving through to pastas, mains and then desserts.
We decided to share two dishes from the antipasti section, the first being the Polpette al forno (meat balls oven baked in a tomato sauce).
This is usually a serve of three, but the waitress asked if we wanted a fourth to make it even and as they knew we were sharing they plated them separately for us.
The second antipasti was the Asparagi (wood roasted asparagus wrapped in pancetta with soft boiled eggs and parmesan).
A little harder to split this one, but all good!
Both dishes were quite simple, but well done. Yes, I could do both of these home, but I think most of the antipasti selections are like this. And sometimes it is nice to have a dish that isn’t overcomplicated. The meatballs were full of flavour and very moist, and you can’t beat the classic egg and asparagus combination.
We went our separate ways on the pasta course. J chose the Garganelli (squid, bottarga, tomato and chilli).
And I had the Agnolotti alla Plin (small ravioli of roast rabbit, veal and pork).
I really enjoyed my dish, though the combination of the meats made for a very strong flavour which not all would like, but I found the sage and parmesan helped cut through the meatiness. However, J kept saying that he had a bitter taste in the back of his throat with his dish, which he was not enjoying at all.
I had a bite and could not taste any bitterness, but a bit of research the next day seemed to suggest it was the bottarga. I must not have had any in the mouthful I tried, but the internets said bottarga can be bitter with one person saying they “found it to have a pronounced bitter aftertaste in the back of the throat that was not at all pleasant and ruined a dish of my wife’s hand-rolled and hand-cut fettuccini.”
I don’t know whether the bitterness means it is off or not prepared properly but I think it has put J did not like it.
For the main course, we again shared a dish, going with the Tagliata di Manzo (slices of charcoal grilled Cape Grim sirloin with parsley, garlic and white bean). We also ordered the Arancio e Nocciola (green bean, orange and hazelnut salad).
I love cannelloni beans, and they go so well with steak, unfortunately I seemed to get the fatty pieces of the meat though.
As for the salad, well, it never turned up. We couldn’t get anyone’s attention when we were eating the steak, and when the plate was cleared we mentioned to the waiter.
The waitress who took our order did come and apologise and admit it was her fault. We know she had written it down because she made comment about how great it was. She did offer to bring it out for us, but it was a bit late.
It was time for dessert and after a bit of indecision from both of us, J went with the tiramisú.
The photo doesn’t do it justice but it was a generous serving and I did have to help out. It was an excellent rendition of the classic dessert, with a good boozy kick.
I had been eyeing off the Torrone al Cioccolato (frozen chocolate, peanut and coconut semi freddo) but in the end chose the Torta al Cioccolato (flourless chocolate cake with vanilla Chantilly and grated milk chocolate).
It was the right decision. This was my favourite dish of the night. I loved the light, moist almost mousse-like cake, and it went so well with the Chantilly cream.
We weren’t wowed by the food at Rosetta. It was all solid and well executed but it lacked a little something (especially for the price). And as much as I love Neil (particularly Rockpool in Sydney), Ormeggio (also in Sydney) is still our pick for the best Italian restaurant in Australia.