Sapore Della Vigna, Leichhardt

 

www.italianforumrestaurants.com.au

Ratings
Food: 7.5/10
Atmosphere: 7/10
Service: 9/10
Value: 8/10

Average Price
Entrée: $4 – $15
Main: $20 – $30
Dessert: $10.90 – $12.90
Degustation: N/A
Corkage: $2.5 p/p
Cakeage: $10

Others
Ease of finding a car park: Normal
Ease of finding the restaurant: Easy
Brightness of restaurant: Normal
Noise Level: Noisy
Waiting time for foods: 15 mins – 20 mins
Booking time require: 1-2 Days
Child friendly/High Chair: Yes

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It has been a while since I have been to the Italian Forum in Leichhardt, usually I would go to restaurants located on Norton Street such as Portofino. Turn out it was a treasure find. It was a Friday night and we managed to find a parking spot in less than 5 minutes! There is a two level parking underneath the Forum which you can enjoy a 2 hours free parking.

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Sapore Della Vigna has been there for over 12 years, family owned by Kathy and her husband. The place has been renovated and extended ever since taken over by Kathy. Its vast space can not only accommodate large bookings but also small groups for all occasions such as birthday party, engagement, business parties with seating inside or outside.
We were greeted and welcomed by the friendly staff and were asked where we would like to seat. I choose inside as it was quite a chill night and love the idea of sitting under the heaters.

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Staff kindly change our wine to soft drinks

The Food Mornings voucher entitles us a mixed pasta platter for two which includes choice of 3 pasta dishes ($3.30 extra for each seafood pasta dish, exclude risotto and lasagne) and a bottle of wine. The menu has a vast range of selections from entree, pasta, salads and sides and as a result, we couldn’t make up our mind. The friendly staff came over and gave us some recommendation which end up it was my favourite. We opted for Penne Al Pollo – Pan fried chicken, sun-dried tomato & pine nuts in a napolitana and cream sauce $21.90, Linguini Marinara – Pasta with a selection of fresh local seafood cooked in a tomato, garlic, and white wine sauce $24.90, Spinach & Ricotta Ravioli – with a pesto cream sauce & topped with pine nuts $18.90 (staff’s recommendation). 

An Italian dinner is not complete without some nice Bruschetta. We order one of those as a starter. It was so delicious and top with huge amount of fresh tomato, basil, garlic and a sweet vinaigrette dressing. What I love the most was the bread is toasted and warm when it was served.

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Brushetta with tomato and basil – 2 per serve, $7.90

When the pasta arrived it’s presented on a silver platter with three generous serving of each pasta that we ordered. At first we dived into the vegetarian pasta which was packed with heaps of flavour and heaps of creamy sauce. (I was thinking a vegetarian pasta must be bland and tasteless but I am so wrong!) There was blended spinach and herbs piece inside the sauce and the ravioli was cooked perfectly. Secondly, I tried the chicken penne. Chicken meat was moist and tender and the pine nut was crunchy and paired well with the sauce. Lastly, we tasted the Linguini Marinara. I was feeling full already at this point of the meal but still polished half of the Linguini in my stomach. The seafood was fresh and the sauce is delicious.

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From left to right : Spinach & Ricotta Ravioli – with a pesto cream sauce & topped with pine nuts $18.90, Linguini Marinara – Pasta with a selection of fresh local seafood cooked in a tomato, garlic, and white wine sauce $24.90,Penne Al Pollo – Pan fried chicken, sun-dried tomato & pine nuts in a napolitana and cream sauce $21.90,

Conclusion: I had a pleasant dining experience in Sapore. The atmosphere was buzzing, love to see people, talking and laughing, and that’s exactly what Sapore offers. It is a great place to meet up with friends or for a family gathering. Highly recommended!! Check out here for a great deal from . This Mixed Pasta Platter for Two deal is on sale from 27/6 to 2/7 for a limited time.

 

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Address:

The Italian Forum, 23 Norton St, Leichhardt
opening hrs: Mon – Thur: 10:00 to 23:00, Fri: 10:00 to midnight, Sat – Sun: 8:00 to midnight
Ph:+612-9518-0078
Web: www.italianforumrestaurants.com.au

Getting There:

Parking: Forum underground parking. Entrance on Norton St 
By train: No Train station near by

Map picture

Sapore on Urbanspoon

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Aria Restaurant, Circular Quay

 

If you follow this season’s Master Chef, you will notice Matt Moran was one of the guest judges on the judge panel. I was over the moon when I heard that our business partner BTIG is bringing us to Aria restaurant located opposite of the opera house for lunch. The whole time during one of the pressure test, where contestants have to recreate Matt Moran’s duck consommé dish with abalone, I would rave about how creative it is to have a dish that has Asian influence but in a form of soup that made by a non-Asian chef.

Ratings
Food: 8/10
Atmosphere: 9/10
Service: 9/10
Value: 8/10

Average Price
Entrée: $36 – $42
Main: $44 – $56
Dessert: $24 – $28
Degustation: $160-$176 (w/o wine), $260-$286 (w/wine)
Corkage: No BYO, fully licensed
Cakeage: Free

Others
Ease of finding a car park: Hard
Ease of finding the restaurant: Easy
Brightness of restaurant: Dark
Noise Level: Normal
Waiting time for foods: 15 mins – 20 mins
Booking time require: 2-3 Days
Child friendly/High Chair: No

 

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When we first walked in, the receptionist greeted with a friendly smile and took us to the table. The restaurant was very “corporate” style, I wouldn’t say it’s a very nice décor and most people were having a business lunch as you can tell by their corporate attire. We were given a seated close to the window with fabulous views of Opera House and Harbour Bridge.

We decided to go for the 2 courses for $68. As much as I would love to try the dessert too but I think my little stomach will struggle a little bit.

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A complimentary amuse bouche is served to us to start off, it is a wild mushroom and asparagus soup. Although I am not a big fan of asparagus but I couldn’t taste any of it, but instead I can taste a dash of sweetness that came from the mushroom.

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Peaking duck consommé with duck dumplings, shaved abalone and mushrooms

As mentioned before, how can I go pass a dish that has been feature in a Master Chef pressure test? So I opted for the duck consommé. The bowl came out to the table covered and once it is placed in front of me the waiter lifted off the lid allowing the aroma to come through the nose. I can’t wait no more! First spoonful was boiling hot with intense flavours. Floating on the top was some coriander and herbs which further raise this soup to a whole new level. The dumplings itself was a bit soggy but overall was very nice. I wouldn’t consider this as a traditional Chinese dish because I’ve never taste anything like that before.

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Scallops – spiced and roasted with glazed witlof, pistachios, and dried apricots

Nadia ordered the scallops and she claim that it was cooked perfectly. I didn’t try this dish but from the look of it, I can tell the scallop was just cooked through with a nice brown surface.

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Truffled potato mash, $15

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Borlotti bean, cotechino sausage and rocket salad, $16

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Cured New Zealand salmon with kombu and earl great tea, yuzu tapioca and avocado puree

I never thought you could put a tea together with a salmon. But the presentation was very beautiful, almost too beautiful to eat. Down side was a bit small to feed a big eater.

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Pork Belly – Kurobuta sweet pork belly with pickled watermelon and crackling

Few other people ordered the pork belly, the skin looks perfectly crisp. At the end of the meal I noticed that most people left the watermelons on the plate unfinished.

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Braised beef cheek with red onion choucroutte, roasted chestnut and puff wild rice

I ordered the beef as the main. Despite that I was half full already but I still managed to finish the whole dish. Because it is just so good!! I didn’t know what purpose the puff wild rice served initially but after a bite of the meat I understand that the puff rice can lighten the richness of the sauce and offer some crunchiness to the dish. The meat itself was tender and fall off the bone.

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Barramundi – Crisp skinned fillet with grilled cuttlefish, apple, green olives and horseradish sauce

I rarely ordered fish as my main in a restaurant, purely because none of them impressed me but this one in Aria totally changed my view. It is very hard to cook a fish right but Aria did it. The fish was moist and juicy. It felt like it melts in the mouth. The skin was absolutely amazing and crispy.

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slow cooked lamb neck with a potato gratin, Chinese artichokes, nameko mushrooms and wild asparagus

All of the people on the table either order fish, beef or lamb. I didn’t get a taste of the lamb but it looks perfectly cook still with a little bit pink in the middle.

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Conclusion: Unbeatable location and excellent food. The service was impeccable, they gave us attention to our needs throughout the meal. I would definitely order the dessert next time when I come here because it looks absolutely delicious looking at the table next to us.

 

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Address:

1 Macquaire Street, Circular Quay 
opening hrs: Mon – Fri: 12:00 to 14:30, 17:30 to 23:00, Sat 17:00 to23:00, Sun 18:00 to 22:00 
Ph:+612-9252-2555
Web: www.ariarestaurant.com.au

Getting There:

Parking: Macquarie Street, Pitt street 
By train: Circular Quay

Map picture

Aria on Urbanspoon

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