Sunday, February 20, 2011

Review: Oliveto Ristorante & Bar (Birthday Dinner No.2)

Brays Bay Reserve
443 Concord Rd

Mon - Fri, Sun: 
12pm - 3pm

Tues - Sat:
6pm - 10pm

For work and family related functions where you require a spot that suits everyone in terms of cuisine and location, Oliveto Ristorante & Bar has long been the venue of choice for Buggles & Squeak.

Oliveto is situated in Brays Bay Reserve which means that there is always plenty of parking and it is set off the street and by a stretch of the Parramatta River. Oliveto uses this feature well with the expanse of glass that wraps around the restaurant allowing a view of the wild grasses that hug the watersedge.

Oliveto serves Italian fare in a space that is sleek and modern. Its popularity means that the place is  usually always full and this brings a warmth to the room. On this occasion it is the restaurant of choice for Squeak as she celebrates her birthday with the family. We opt for an early start to dinner and start off with Pizza crust with olive and artichoke tapenades, as well as a fresh tomato salsa. The crusts are woodfired, thin and crispy and really fill the spot as we await the meals to come.

I find it quite difficult to go past an entree containing figs, so I have the Figs and Prosciutto with a Gorgonzola Cream sauce. The serve is a little small I think, but I suppose it is only supposed to be an entree. The figs are soft and sweet, the prosciutto silky and salty and the sauce is rich. Each mouthful is delicious!

Squeak opts for the Beef Carpaccio and it was excellent. The carpaccio is sliced very finely and the meat did just melt in the mouth. It is topped with peppery rocket and earthy parmesan shavings and drizzled with olive oil. A classic Italian dish, but executed beautifully.

One of our dining companions orders the Potato gnocchi with artichokes, asparagus, peas, pane profumato and lemon zest. The Gnocchi is very light and works nicely with the other fresh elements on the plate.

For mains, I choose to order the Confit duck maryland served with radicchio, rocket, grapefruit, beetroot and orange glaze. I do love duck and I am intrigued to see how a confit will work with the grapefruit. The serve is very big and while I do enjoy the dish generally, I am not sure the fresh grapefruit really does work and I feel there needs to be more orange glaze.

Squeak goes out on a limb, and orders the Beef eye fillet with king brown mushroom, garlic croquette and potato fondant (as do many others on the table). Everyone seems to think it is a winner, with the beef cooked perfectly and having very good flavour - the garlic croquette is deliciously garlicky!

A couple of people opt for the Mixed Seafood Grill, and I have to say that both are disappointed. Seafood certainly can be pricey, but the serve does seem quite small - once all shells are removed. There is nothing particularly wrong with it, it just doesn't 'wow' them.  They decide to share a plate of fries between them however and these are demolished - crispy and hot... yum!

For a birthday dinner, many people opt to bring their own cakes which Oliveto cater for happily.  There is, however, a 'cakeage' charge of $3.50pp which also gives you a scoop of vanilla bean gelato with the cake.  On this occasion though we decide to just order desserts. I choose the Limoncello Souffle with lemon sorbet. It looks the business when it arrives. Puffed high in its beautiful (and hot!) copper pot with the scoop of lemon sorbet on the side. I have been let down by the souffle experience at many a restaurant and have, for a long time now, decided that I will only order it from Bistro Moncur or Rockpool and, to be honest, I think I have to stick to my guns in future. The souffle looks great - but is a let down on flavour.  It doesn't really taste of anything - let alone limoncello. The best part of the dish is the lemon sorbet which really is zingy and delicious.

Squeak orders the Pistachio wafers with Grand Marnier Mascarpone and marinated straberries. This is very pretty to look at and Squeak enjoys it a lot.  It is quite a large serve and she (unusually) is unable to finsh it. I personally find that the wafers taste a bit like bird-seed - but Squeak loves it - so it must just be a matter of taste.

A couple of others order the White chocolate brulee with raspberry sorbet, and are underwhelmed by it - once again favouring the sorbet to the brulee. So if I was to take anything away from the dessert experience it would be to always order the sorbet or gelato - as it is done very well!

Overall, Oliveto offer a very pleasant dining experience with food that is generous and, on the whole, very good. Service is, and always has been, very professional and friendly and they do a remarkable job of handling such large numbers and groups with very few hitches.

Oliveto Ristorante & Bar on Urbanspoon


joey@forkingaroundsydney said...

I've never read a recent post about Oliveto so well done! It is one of those rare restaurants in the GFG that is west of the Anzac Bridge. :-) Looks great and the serving of the duck confit has me impressed.

Buggles and Squeak said...

@joey We have dined at Oliveto often and it really is quite good. The food is nice & the service is one of its best features.they cater really well for large groups.