Starting from an empty bleak shell of a concrete building comes a piece of Tuscany brought by Andiamo Trattoria. The space is now warmed up with classical art, prints and worn out bricks hiding the blank canvas it started as. There was also a gentle lull of the smooth background music and the little light bulbs hanging across the ceiling helped to warm the scene. Ah, it was just as if I was dining during Italian summer night.
On this evening, Andiamo Trattoria and Zomato transported us to take part in a Tuscan Feast and explore the food that was taken from the hearts of their childhood.
The feast started us off with Arancini filled with Sicillian prosciutto and mozzarella plated upon a napolitana sauce and a warm plate of spinach and ricotta fritters with gorgonzola sauce. Both had a light layer of batter that was crispy and warm from the fillings. Upon breaking through the battered shell of the Arancini, you could immediately see the stringiness of the mozzarella binding together the prosciutto with the rice. The fritters were more subtle but was well complemented by the gorgonzola sauce which packed an additional kick. After this dish was done, not only were the fritters gone but most of the sauce vanished with it.
The entrees didn’t finish here though. They were followed by a bowl of black mussels served in garlic and white wine and a plate of Andiamo Trattoria’s delicious homemade meatballs. The mussels didn’t need much to impress. Upon tasting, you get a light taste of the garlic and white wine base they were cooked in which dressed it in a gentle touch of flavour. The meatballs were big, juicy and went perfect with chilli oil. A comfort dish in their own right, taking you back to your childhood days where meals were always made from the heart.
The entrees welcomed us warmly and followed this trend into the next dishes which were three beautifully large pizzas. Wide eyed we watched them place the fresh pizzas before us. The first being Pizza Alla Norma which was topped with double cooked eggplant, ricotta and fresh basil, the second Salsiccia which had Italian sausage and bocconcini, and the last, a Pumpkin Gorgonzola that was topped with pumpkin, gorgonzola, pine nuts, garlic, caramelised onion and sage.
Each pizza was introducing a different party to my mouth. The cheese on the Pizza Alla Norma and the Pumpkin Gorgonzola was generous and stringy, making the experience not only a delicious one, but a fun one as well. The eggplant was soft and tender and oozing with natural oils and added a light woody essence to the palate. The pumpkin and caramelised onion on the Pumpkin Gorgonzola pizza added a lovely sweetness that contrasted the sharpness of the gorgonzola, which was a lovely surprise to the tastebuds. The Salsiccia pizza was more simple in design but by no means more muted in flavour. The Italian sausage and the tomato base made this pizza a star and was particularly favoured by the meat eaters on the table.
At this point I had to remind myself to pace it as we had only reached the halfway mark. After the party pleaser pizzas, the next course brought to the table was the pastas. Because how could we go to a Italian restaurant and not try their pastas? The two pasta stars for the night were a Gnocchi Tartufi which was a truffled gnocchi with sautéed mushrooms, wine and light cream sauce and also a Spaghetti Marinara which in my books never fails to please the Italian cuisine lover in me.
The spaghetti marinara sauce had absorbed the flavours of the seafood that was heated up with a spicy kick. Classic, and always delicious. Every bite I took of the gnocchi was like sinking my teeth into soft and chewy potato pillows that had faintly taken on the earthy characteristics of the truffle. It was definitely a more luxurious dish than that of the marinara as the sauce was thick but both dishes were equally enjoyed as they were exquisite in their own ways.
After the pasta, I had really thought this had to be it. There was no way I was going to be able to take in another bite despite the fact that my eyes were still hungry. When I thought it was over, the table was blown away by yet another dish that was made with such love. How do I know this? Because the next dish was a melt in your mouth Lamb Shoulder that was slow cooked for 24 hours. Now that’s a long baby-sitting shift. But whatever it takes to make the result amazing, right?
The meat of the lamb was so tender it basically didn’t require us to portion a piece using a knife, and we were able to easily use our forks to serve ourselves a desired piece. Being a meat dominated dish, the rosemary roasted potatoes and the slightly tangy gravy made it effortless to enjoy. Although I was reaching my peak capacity at this point, I just couldn’t resist the aroma and texture of this dish. Thoughtfully, to help combat the heaviness of this main, a plate of rocket and parmesan salad quickly refreshed things up.
By this point, I was stuffed like Christmas dinner had come early, and with that the night came to an end with dessert. Despite being full, my dessert stomach was yet to receive any attention, and it wasn’t disappointed with the house made Tiramisu. Served with a scoop of icecream and a shot of espresso, this was thoroughly enjoyed by the table. The tiramisu itself was light and fluffy, but after dousing it with the espresso, it took on a heavier note of coffee (which is how I prefer it).
Andiamo Trattoria really has it going on, bringing a piece of Italy to Kensington Street. Each dish came with a memory and a story, adding more love and warmth to this honest, traditional Italian experience.
9 Kensington St, Chippendale, Sydney NSW
Phone: (02) 9280 0081
Other locations: http://www.andiamotrattoria.com.au/