One hatted Executive Chef, Alessandro Pavoni is behind the menu, which features regional specialties of Lombardy, one of Italy’s northern states. Lombardy is home of the Spiedo Bresciano, the spit roasted meaty colossus which the restaurant is named after, which also happens to be Alessandro’s favourite regional dish.
We also had another big reason to be so excited about visiting this particular restaurant, as our brother-in-law, JM, is one of the owners of Spiedo. After hearing about it’s progress since opening, and about the amazing meal my older sister CW (visit her blog) enjoyed on her recent visit to Sydney, I was really keen to check it out.
All the kitchen watching was proving to be excruciating! When our Sydney Sis joined us, it was time to get started. We asked brother-in-law JM to suggest some dishes for us to share. Besides the namesake Spiedo Bresciano, we were also keen to try his favourites from the menu.
We started with a selection of fresh bread, which are baked daily in Spiedo’s kitchen. JM told me he often starts his day at the restaurant with a slice of their bread, hot out of the oven.
This soft, golden foccacia studded with sweet cherry tomatoes was my favourite.
First to arrive was the Sciatt’, chunks of Fontina cheese coated in a buckwheat and grappa tempura served over radicchio.
I loved the contrast of the crunchy tempura with the oozy, stringy texture of the cheese. The green dipping sauce served alongside had a great kick from the fresh herbs – with a slightly mustardy finish, which I think came from rocket in the sauce. The flavour contrasted so well with the mild creamy flavour of the Fontina.
Baccala e Merluzzo d’acqua dolce, cannellini, spinaci novelli, $20
JM said one of the dishes we had to try was the Baccala e Merluzzo d’acqua dolce with cannellini and spinach. A large hunk of poached Murray cod sat over a creamy baccala puree (salted cod) with cannellini beans and sautéed spinach. The strong flavour of the baccala puree was perfectly complemented by the Murray cod, which had been seasoned simply. I think this was important as it meant the baccala puree was actually quite easy to eat, and not nearly as strong as I’ve had in the past.
Battuta di manzo, crema di tuorlo d’uovo, farro, crescione, bagoss, $20
I was really keen to try the Beef Battuta, Lombardy’s answer to Steak Tartare. The finely chopped beef was sprinkled with crispy spelt grains and served with a drizzle of creamy egg yolk, fresh watercress and shavings of Bagoss cheese.
The texture of the raw beef was much more to my preference than other tartare’s I have tried – the morsels of beef were a pleasure to eat as they were cut to a brunoise size, rather than ground/minced. The crispy spelt added a textural element, and also a subtle nuttiness.
Casoncelli alla Bresciana, $24 (entree) / $31 (main)
There were two past dishes which JM said we couldn’t go past – the Casoncelli alla Bresciana, and the Bigoli, gamberi di fiume e piselli.
Bigoli, gamberi di fiume e piselli, $24 (entree) / $31 (main)
Bigoli is the variety of wholemeal pasta used for this dish, a thick, tubular pasta, which is a little similar to bucatini (but thicker). The sauce used in this dish was enriched with shellfish stock, giving it a rich, sweet flavour. The chunks of yabby were tender and sweet, and went really well with the fresh peas.
My favourite of the two was definitely the Casoncelli alla Bresciana – pillowy half moons filled with a flaboursome veal and pork mix, drizzled with burnt butter, and sprinkled with crispy pancetta and sage. I love burnt butter. It makes everything so moreish. I was almost disappointed to have to share this. Luckily, there was still more to come!
Risotto alla Milanese, guancia di manzo brasata, $24 (entree) / $35 (main)
JM told us the next dish we were having, Risotto alla Milanese with red wine braised beef
cheek, was only supposed to be on the winter menu. But it’s been so popular that they haven’t taken it off the menu. Sydney Sis said that this dish was one of her favourites.
I have to agree – the buttery soft beef cheeks were amazing. After a long braise, the beef also developed a beautifully savoury umami-ness, which Sydney Sis and I agreed tasted a lot like Marmite! So tender you could eat it with a spoon, the beef cheeks were perfectly paired with the creamy saffron risotto. Definitely a stand out dish for me.
Spiedo Bresciano con polenta, $35
We couldn’t go to Spiedo without trying the dish it was named after!
Meet the Spiedo Bresciano, a slow spit-roasted combination of pork ribs, duck, pork scotch fillet and quail, served with a creamy polenta. The dish was drizzled with burnt butter and crispy sage.
The meats were beautifully tender, the result after being spit-roasted for five and a half hours, and I really enjoyed the combination of meats (I’ve enjoyed them all separately, but never together).
Who knew that two kinds of pork, duck and quail could go together in such a delicious combination?
Roasted pumpkin with honey and hazelnuts, $9
Rocket with parmesan, $9
We also had a fresh rocket and parmesan salad, to go with the rich meaty Spiedo, helping me satisfy my necessary ‘veggie quota’. We also shared a dish of roasted pumpkin, tossed in a mix of honey and butter, served with roasted hazelnuts. J was pleasantly surprised by the pumpkin – a vegetable he doesn’t usually enjoy, which was completely transformed by the honey, butter, hazelnut combination. I think he’s still hanging out for me to try this one at home
Spiedo dessert plate, $18
Our inability to decide on which desserts we each wanted meant that there was really only one sensible option. The Spiedo dessert plate. From left to right (above), Amedei chocolate barbajada with milk gelato, Spiedo Tiramisu, strawberry gelato.
The chocolate barbajada was a beautifully creamy, softly set dessert, which would be a good choice for chocoholics.
My favourite of the lot was definitely the Spiedo Tiramisu, an updated take on this well known Italian classic. Spiedo’s deconstructed version features a light sponge cake, whipped marscapone cream and a sprinkling of a sandy-textured chocolate crumb. Individually, each of the components was delicious – combined, outstanding. The chocolatey crumbs were a particular favourite – reminding me a lot of milo (eaten off a teaspoon!)
TFP declared the strawberry gelato one of the best she’s tried – it was bursting with fruity strawberry flavour.
Three scoops of gelato, clockwise from left, milk, nutella and peanut butter, $14
Spiedo make all of their own gelato, and they’re definitely worth a try if you’re in the mood for something light after your meal. Milk is JM’s favourite flavour, the most subtle of the bunch – perfect for showcasing the smooth texture of their gelato. I really loved the creamy peanut butter (love anything peanut butter flavoured!) variety – it would make a killer ice cream sandwich, in my opinion! My suggestion? Peanut butter gelato sandwiched between two chocolate sable biscuits, sprinkled with flakes of sea salt. Mmmm. Add some of the nutella flavoured gelato, and you’d have something truly magnificent.
Before we wrapped up our evening, J was keen to sample some of the Grappa options available from the cart. Besides a more classic version, he also tried a blueberry Grappa, which was interesting – the taste I tried was syrupy and sweet, reminding me a little of Spanish Pedro Ximenez.
It was a fantastic meal – the efforts of Chef Fulvio and his team were delicious, and very memorable. The staff at Spiedo are very knowledgeable and offer professional, efficient service, and were all happy to answer questions from the Lombardian food-newbs at our table.
It was great to have the opportunity to enjoy the food of Lombardy, a departure from the usual southern-style Italian cooking that’s become ubiquitous throughout Australia.
Thanks Spiedo, I’m very happy to have finally visited! I hope to see you again soon
As I mentioned earlier in this post, my brother-in-law JM is one of the owners of Spiedo Restaurant and Bar. This post reflects my personal views and honest opinions based on my visit to the restaurant. If there was any aspect of the food or service which I disliked, I would have certainly pointed it out.
Hey Juji, don’t you live in Perth? What’s with all the Sydney posts?
My sister TFP, my fiance J and I recently went on a ten day holiday to Sydney. Food was high on our agenda, and we visited lots of great places.
I’ll be posting the highlights from each day, so stay tuned!
Read about our other food adventures in Sydney