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Criniti’s, Parramatta

Reviews August 14, 2013

Criniti’s has been around for a while now. I’d heard good and bad reports about them, and finally got the chance to see what it was like for myself at a recent friend’s birthday party.

Nutella Smoothie (Nutella with milk and vanilla gelato) $8

We saw this on the menu and immediately insisted the birthday girl (who is a Nutella fan) get herself a glass. I had a sipful and it was pretty sublime – intensely creamy with a strong taste of Nutella. I really loved the presentation in the cute jar with the stripey paper straw as well.

Zucchini flowers (Lightly battered zucchini flowers with goats cheese and mascarpone) $24.90

Always a classic entree, this dish had a crispy batter and was filled with ooey gooey cheeses and did not disappoint. However I did think $6+ per zucchini was a bit of a premium price to pay, considering I have seen them cheaper at finer dining establishments.

Mozzarella & Haloumi (Wood fired D.O.P mozzarella di bufala & haloumi with chilli and semi-dried tomato) $15.90

This was a nice and cheesy start to the evening with a good hit of chilli, but I must admit it was really lacking something. I think this dish would have been much better with a note of sweetness. A splash of balsamic or runny honey would have really finished it off beautifully.

Bruschetta Caprese (Roma tomatoes, red onion, basil, garlic, extra virgin olive oil and D.O.P mozzarella di bufala) $10.90

Our fellow diner for the evening ordered this bruschetta on a gluten-free base and commented at the end of the evening that the base was very disappointing, had a cardboard-like texture and was burned at the edges. Not terribly impressive.

Caesar Piadini (Wood fired wrap with grilled chicken, cos lettuce, pancetta, crostini, shaved D.O.P parmigiano & caesar dressing) $16.90

This wrap was impressively large when it was delivered to the table and the diner who chose it remarked that it was great value for the size.

Tortellini alla Boscaiola (Homemade beef tortellini with cream, mushrooms, red onion, pancetta, D.O.P parmiagiano & parsley) $23.90

I tried a little of this and found it very flavoursome with a very creamy mushroom sauce, although it was a tad over-salted.

Spaghetti Pachino (homemade spaghetti, garlic, chilli, cherry tomatoes, olive oil and basil) $23.90

Spaghetti Aglio e Olio con Peperoncino (Extra Virgin Olive Oil, garlic, chilli and parsley) $24.90

This particular dish I hadn’t tried prior to visiting Italy last year. I had my first taste of spaghetti aglio e olio in Venice and was blown away at how all the unbelievably simple flavours melded together to make an incredibly flavoursome dish. I hadn’t had a chance to sample any in Australia since then and so thought I’d give it a go at Criniti’s. I took a few bites and was surprised at how salty it was and how much it lacked a strong garlicky or chilli flavour. In fact, it tasted exclusively like oily, salty pasta and really lacked the flavour I fell in love with in Italy. It was actually so salty I could only tolerate a few bites before I started to feel queasy from the amount of salt in the dish. I sent my dish back to the kitchen (which, by the way, I have never done before). The staff were happy to remake me a different meal on the menu but I didn’t really feel like eating again after that particular dish. I declined and they gave me a full refund, which I greatly appreciated.

To sum up, I think Criniti’s is a little overpriced for what it is. Sadly my pasta dish was incredibly over-salted and I found it inedible. However everyone else seemed mostly satisfied with their choices, if not finding them to also be a tad salty. I have heard excellent things about Criniti’s pizzas however (which we did not order) so it seems that it might be best to order pizza over pasta.

The service wasn’t too bad – we asked for things like parmesan cheese, which was forgotten and never brought to the table. Aside from that, they were quite friendly in trying to replace my meal with a second one, giving me a full refund and were very polite about it.

Another thing I will note is that when I booked the restaurant for a birthday and enquired about bringing a cake, the staff advised me via email that Criniti’s has a strict “no BYO” policy, which means you cannot bring birthday cakes to the premises. Instead, you choose one from their pasticceria, which you can view online here. I found this a little disappointing as their choices were again a little overpriced. Fortunately Parramatta is stuffed with plenty of nice places to visit for dessert afterwards, should that strike your fancy.

Criniti’s Parramatta on Urbanspoon

Hope you are all having a lovely week. Apologies again for being a bit sketchy in the blogosphere – only eight more weeks until the wedding and I’ve been trying hard to finish all the little last-minute details as well as trying to eat healthily and exercise like crazy (stupid corset dress *cough*).



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Ladies Who Lunch at The Village: Potts Point

Reviews July 1, 2012

Half day Fridays at my workplace are a weekly little blessing. They are also a great excuse for myself and my workmates to indulge in FAD (or as we like to call them, Friday Afternoon Dates). The Ladies who Lunch (LWL) at the Village was a perfect excuse to grab lunch with a workmate and enjoy our Friday afternoon in style. At $39 per person for the delicious sounding LWL menu, who could resist?

We start off with an antipasto plate to share.

Herb crispbread, marinated olives, capsicum, eggplant, cured meats – salami, proscuitto, beef bressola and house made beetroot dip and hommous
I loved the combination of the herby crispness of the bread with the saltiness of the marinated vegetables and a smear of beetroot dip adding some sweetness. Yum!

Next brought out is a jug of fresh looking Pimms and lemonade with seasonal fruit

Crispy salt and pepper squid with sea salt, rocket, lemon and chilli aioli

Sicilian arrancini with spinach and smoked italian parmesan
This was absolutely delicious. I’ve only ever had arrancini once or twice in my life before and they weren’t great experiences. These warm cheesy rice balls went deliciously with the rich tomato sauce and the saltiness of the cheese – so good, it had me reaching for a second in no time!

Roast pumpkin salad with pine nuts, baby spinach and marinated feta
This is a classic salad – can’t go wrong with this one.

Caprese salad with Italian buffalo mozzarella, fresh basil, olive oil and balsamic vinegar
Having just returned from two weeks in Italy, this Caprese salad was a welcome sight and I have to say they did this salad justice. The tomatoes were fresh and flavourful and the combination of the fresh tasting cheese and sweetness of the balsamic is an unbeatable combination. Love that they used buffalo mozzarella as well 🙂

Margherita pizza
Another great classic Italian dish on the menu, can’t go wrong with a Margherita pizza!

Finally moving onto to dessert, we had some more classics on the menu.

Apple and Raspberry crumble with Vanilla bean anglaise

Chocolate Fondant with Raspberry Coulis and Vanilla Bean Ice Cream

It didn’t take us long to dig into these delicious looking treats, and they did not disappoint.

The desserts were simply excellent – probably my favourite items on the whole menu. The crumble had a sinfully rich buttery crust which matched the tart sweetness of the berries and apple well. The creaminess of the vanilla bean anglaise finished it off perfectly.

I also loved the chocolate fondant, which did not have an overly cloying sweetness I often find in those sorts of desserts – and the vanilla ice cream really helped to cut through the sweetness. The addition of the tart raspberry coulis was an unusual addition, but I have to admit really added another lovely note to the chocolate and vanilla flavours.

In summary, I had a lovely time at the Village – $39 is a great price for a meal including starters, salads, pizza, dessert and drinks, especially in the city. It has a great atmosphere and would also work well for bigger groups, after work drinks and functions. It’s a great excuse to use to catch up with some girlfriends and I would certainly love to visit again. For those who are interested, the Village also caters for functions, bigger groups looking for a night out with some dinner, drinks and dancing and also caters for coeliacs (they offer gluten free pizza bases in all of their pizzas) and they also work towards pleasing even the most discerning vegetarians and vegans.

To see more pictures, including the function rooms and more of the Village, check out my facebook album by clicking here.

The Village has three set menus – the Ladies who Lunch menu ($39 per head), the banquet menu ($35 per head) and an a la carte menu. These can all be checked out online on their website.
Click here to check out The Village’s website

Cuisine style: Italian / Modern Australian
The Village is located at 1 Kellett Way, Potts Point NSW 2011
Phone number: 8084 6057
Chef: Tristan Johnson
Sous-chef: Peter Wade
Parking/Getting there: There isn’t a great deal of street parking in Potts Point, but there is secure 24 hour paid parking nearby. Alternatively, Kings Cross Station is approx a 3 minute walk away.

The Village on Urbanspoon

Hope you have a fab week!