Review of Ragazzi Wine and Pasta, Sydney CBD
In what is only their second week of opening, my visit to Ragazzi Wine and Pasta is one of great expectations and great impressions. The food, the wine, the service, the ambiance: all live up to the reputation garnered from their other Sydney venues, Love, Tilly Devine and Dear Saint Eloise. In other words, it is absolutely fantastic and I can't say enough good things about this restaurant!
Last week was our 8 year wedding anniversary and like many other married couples with kids, the day came and went without too much fanfare, unlike when we were first married where we would exchange lavish gifts, proclaim our adoration for each other in Facebook posts and dine at a 3 hatted restaurant. Oh how times change! #marriedlife #oldmarriedcouple Determined not to let this occasion pass by without taking a moment to celebrate, I organise for one of my very gracious and generous friends to babysit the boys so hubby and I can go out and have a nice dinner. My mum is usually my go-to child minder but she is overseas on an extended girls trip for 2 months #retiredlife #livingthedream so I have been relying on my dad, sister and very kind friends who have really stepped up and helped out to give us some couple time away from the kids. So I get myself tarted up and head into the city for dinner at the new hot restaurant, Regazzi Wine and Pasta, located in Angel Place. Over the years, my dining preferences have changed from absolute fine dining, white table cloth style dinners to more casual, sharing type situations. Definitely still very nice and very high quality (and not cheap) but I just want to really relax into my dining experience and not worry about it being too stuffy or formal. The crop of new restaurants popping up all over Sydney seem to be on the same page with the likes of Bistecca, Babylon, Saint Peter and of course our destination tonight.
The restaurant is fully packed and I am very grateful they have gone the way of taking bookings. I am so sick of restaurants who don't take bookings! On a date night we are on the clock; with either someone babysitting as a favour or paying for babysitting so we don't have time to "go away and come back in a couple hours"! Anyway that's my little bug-bear and it's the first tick of approval from me. The menu is small, which is usually a good sign and our very charismatic Italian waitress tells us about her favourite dishes. I am a firm believer that the staff know what the best dishes are, so I am happy to go with her recommendations on food and wine, including the night's special, but more on that later. First up is a Tuna Crudo, buckwheat, pasta fritta which is actually something I wouldn't usually order (I prefer big flavours over subtle) but it is a gorgeous way to start the meal. Little morsels of fresh tuna perched atop an unbelievably light fried dough base. We devour these and our appetites are wet for the next courses. We look at each other and can tell that this is going to be a wonderful meal. The Burrata is always a winner in my books and this one is done beautifully with prawn oil almost enveloping the dish and mixing with the cream of the burrata upon breaking it open. Underneath the burrata is a pea/bean puree with a strong scent of garlic, bringing so much flavour that we use the accompanying bread to mop up every last bit. We order 3 pastas between the 2 of us because I'm a greedy guts and I want to try as much as possible. I can see on the tables either side of us that the portions are not huge so I don't think we'll have a problem finishing them. Two are from the menu (which changes daily) and one is a special for the night. The goat ragu and cacio e pepe are simply stunning with the obvious quality of ingredients, cooking of the pasta and velvety sauces that coat every piece of pasta. Hubby's favourite is the ragu with the melt-in-mouth meat, rich yet light sauce and crispy fried rosemary and breadcrumb topping. I really love it too, but not as much as the night's special: tagliatelle with sea urchin and blue swimmer crab.
“We are actually very lucky to get to taste this pasta special as they only have 9 portions for the night and once I taste, I thank the heavens that I am a nanna and booked a 6:30pm seating. Any later and we probably would have missed out! The pasta is made in house #ofcourse and bathing in a luxurious light bisque-like sauce that echoes the seafood pops from the creamy and salty sea urchin balanced with sweet crab dispersed throughout. Once we finish all the pasta, I ask for some more bread to collect all the remaining sauce and I wipe that plate clean! It was amazing. Nothing else to say.
Riding on a high from the spectacular savoury courses, we are keenly anticipating dessert which is a choice between the Honey Panna Cotta with Blood Orange Granita, a selection of Gelati and a selection of cheeses. I love Panna Cotta and hubby loves icecream so it's an easy decision. As hubby takes his first taste of gelato he makes the face. You know the face?! When someone eats something really delicious, they kind of screw their faces up to side almost as if in pain, but the message is clear: OH EM GEE. According to him, and I agree with him, the gelati is so creamy with each flavour better than the last. My panna cotta arrives with the perfect jiggle and it seems like the entire restaurant rubber necks it to see this thing of beauty be placed down on our table. Strangely I feel quite proud that this dish is for me! I don't know why, it's not like I made it, but I find myself with a smile like the cheshire cat and chest puffed and proud. It is divine, the subtle hint of honey running through the only just-set cream is a lovely contrast to the zingy blood orange granita. A perfectly executed dessert to top off a perfectly executed dinner.
A lot of moving parts need to come together to run a restaurant to this high standard and it is extremely impressive that Ragazzi have managed to do this after only just opening. From booking to dessert everything was exactly to my taste, so I can't sing their praises highly enough. A wonderful way to spend our anniversary, can't wait to go back!
Ragazzi Wine and Pasta Shop 3, 2-12 Angel Place, Sydney
*This meal was paid for independently