Another year another birthday :) and this time it’s Kirk’s Birthday! But it’s not just any birthday… it’s a BIG birthday for Kirk and marks a very SIGNIFICANT day for him ~ I’m not going to say how old he turned because he will kill me but trust me it’s a BIG birthday hehe!
I’m sure my Dear Readers will know who Kirk is :) He’s the very talented friend of mine who is a professional pastry chef ~ celebrating with chefs can be a little nerve-wrecking because I’m not sure where to take them…and whether or not it will live up to their standards :P So I gave Kirk full control where and when to eat. Very quickly he decided we’ll go check out Niel Perry’s new Italian restaurant – Rosetta at Crown Casino.
I was secretly grinning because Rosetta was top of my list of restaurants that I wanted to try, especially since reading Lorraine’s (Not Quite Nigella) post about their wonderful dishes and two things stuck to my mind, the meatballs and the Bonet.
We booked our table for 7pm, I was immediately stressing out, because I wanted to go early so there was more natural lighting hahaha better pictures, but I was surprised when we arrived and walked in that Rosetta, had a very bright and open design. It had a classic Italian-feel with the large chairs with the detailing but also had this girly-touch to it, which I guess was a given as ‘Rosetta’ meant ‘Rose’ in Italian.
A birthday party isn’t a party without bubblies, Rosetta was very generous to give us complimentary champagne as they knew it was Kirk’s birthday and I’m pretty sure he pulled some strings :P I wasn’t able to take a photo or note the name of it, but it was a very light tasting champagne which me likesssss ~
I loved how the menus were multi-coloured and I obviously wanted and got the pink one ~ They have a large and extensive menu starting with the warm and cold entrees, then pasta and risotto, the mains, sides and last but not least desserts :) I’m not very familiar with Italian dishes, as you can see from my blog, I don’t think I’ve done many if any reviews on Italian restaurants ~ its not because I don’t enjoy Italian food, just don’t go as often as I should ~
Thank gosh we had Kirk who’s the expert to talk us through the dishes and some of the ones he recommends to us as he knows our tastes quite well :) Soon we had agreed on what we wanted for our entrees and main but not the desserts, as I just wanted everything!
After taking our order, the waitress brought over some bread, which I think was a focaccia type bread and instead of butter, they poured some olive oil but we were told that butter can be ordered if we wanted it. We all loved the extremely spongey texture of the bread and Mr Bao even had my piece and asked for more lol while I really liked the grossini sticks instead, they’re actually a type of bread… but to me tasted more like biscuits super crunchy could imagine munching on these while watching TV.
Kirk didn’t have to think twice he knew he wanted the ‘scampi’ and being in the ‘Crudi & Carpacci’ section, it was raw scampi with pistachio, orange and mint. Kirk really enjoyed it and said it was “Delicious! Fresh, soft and so tender and liked the crunchy texture from the pistachios”. I don’t think I’ve had scampi raw and was really surprised that it was so sweet.
This dish very much reminds me of the Japanese sashimi but being Italian it had Sicilian Sea salt, grapefruit and pine nuts. The tuna pieces were sliced very thinly and even though the grapefruit was rather bitter, Mr Bao commented that it helped bring out the sweetness from the tuna, while the pine nuts once again gave it some texture. I didn’t really like the grapefruit but liked the simple flavours of the tuna with the Sicilian sea salt.
The meatballs, Lorraine talked about :) They’re simple oven baked meatballs topped with a tomato sauce and parmesan cheese. I haven’t had meatballs for a while, these were able to satisfy all my cravings. They were soft, fluffy and full of flavour and the tomato sauce wasn’t too sour or overpowering either. I also thought that it was a generous serving with 3 large meatballs for only $19AUD.
Kirk chose the Cotoletta which was a pan-fried crumbed boneless veal loin with lemon, it was such a large piece of veal! The plate is much bigger than it appears in this photo, Kirk kept cutting pieces off and giving it to us, but still could barely finish it~ we joked it’s a never-ending story. We really liked the Cotoletta it was super thin, with a great crumb that wasn’t oily at all and so crispy. Definitely recommend sharing this dish and its value for money as it could have easily fed 2 to 3 people :)
Mr Bao ordered the Porchetta a wood fire roasted suckling pig with mustard fruits, the suckling pig was very lean which was good, as it wasn’t drenched in oil making it less tender. But we enjoyed the wood fire taste and the balsamic vinegar sauce complimented it very well. However, we found the crackling a little tough and wasn’t really salted but Kirk did mention that it probably wasn’t baked in the oven, that’s why it didn’t have that ‘crack’.
I ordered the Osso Buco a veal shin braised in Vermentino which is a late-ripening Italian white wine. The veal had a tender and soft texture, but I didn’t really enjoy it as much as I found it to be a little under-seasoned and slightly gamey to me. But the boys really liked it and the fact that they could taste the ‘meat’. So Mr Bao and I ended up swapping dishes hehe ~
Mr Bao was still feeling a little peckish, so decided to order the Risotta ai Fungi which is risotta with mixed fresh mushroom. It was so delicious, it wasn’t too rich with a fresh lemon flavour. I personally found the risotto a little too ‘al dente’ but I guess that’s the traditional way risotto is cooked, I’m just use to my mushy risotto that I make at home hehe :P Keep in mind that their pastas are all starter sizes, but you can always upgrade to a main size by paying extra.
We also ordered a side of Verdure Romanesco broccoli and broccolini with lemon oil, we have never had Romanesco broccoli which has a lighter green colour and also subtler taste. Mr Bao loved this dish so much he’s decided to remake this at home! I can’t believe it…this carnivore actually liked a veggie dish, I think he liked it because it was cooked perfectly, soft but not mushy with a lemon taste to it.
Kirk must have pulled some strings with his connections :) Because we were very well looked after for desserts hehe ~ got everything and more that I wanted YAY!
Mr Bao wanted the Tiramisu, wish granted hehe ~ it came in a little sliver bowl and was a very traditional tiramisu with Savoiardi, layered with mascapone cheese and coffee liquor. I found it to be a little too strong for me in terms of the coffee liquor and thought it could have been a little sweeter, while Mr Bao and Kirk both liked it and thought it wasn’t too strong.
I’m not usually a panna cotta fan but this vanilla panna cotta with rhubarb and strawberry compote was magnificent! It was extremely smooth, wobbly and silky :) It was not at all filled with gelatine which is the main issue I have with other panna cottas hehe :) We also liked the sweetness from the strawberries and also the texture from the rhubarb, definitely the wining dessert ~
This is a very traditional Italian dessert which I have not had before, it was described as a chocolate custard with coffee, rum, Amaretti biscuits and caramel. Lorraine described it as an ‘Adult dessert’, as no sugar is used to make the actual custard. Sugar is only used to make the caramel poured over the custard, with a large dollop with pure cream. I was fascinated by an ‘Adult’ dessert so was very excited about trying, as soon as you put it into your mouth, there is a strong kick of coffee. I personally think the custard can be quite bitter without the caramel and the whipped cream. I actually enjoyed it more than I expected myself too but still think I could have done with more caramel syrup :P
We also tried the gelati and sorbetti :) Pistachio and chocolate were the gelati while the sorbetti were strawberry and lemon. They had the BEST pistachio gelati I have had in Melbourne! And I mean the best! I haven’t been able to find a place in Melbourne that does pistachio as well as Gelato Messina in Sydney. But Rosetta have done it! I will just come back for the pistachio! While the chocolate smooth, rich and deep ~ went so well with the handmade wafer biscuit. The strawberry and lemon were both refreshing and great as a palate cleanser, but I did find the lemon to be a little too sour.
The desserts just kept coming! I couldn’t be happier :D we finished off with a plate of assorted pasticcini which I assumed meant cookies or the equivalent to the French Petit Fours. Starting with Cannoli di Ricotta, I was most excited about trying these as Lorraine mentioned that Rosetta makes fresh Ricotta everyday and it is never refrigerated. It did not disappoint, the Cannoli was fried, then filled to the brim with one of the silkiest ricotta I have tasted, and even though it wasn’t sweetened we all liked the slight savoury taste. Then it was the almond biscotti, it was crispy and dry with a slight orange scent, much better than my homemade ones which were triple the size ~ last but not least the ricciarelli which reminded me of the Greek short bread, but this was an almond and orange flavoured one and wasn’t as ‘crumbly’ as them.
Overall, we enjoyed our time at Rosetta and would recommend you trying, but have noticed their low rating on Urbanspoon, I personally think it’s because, some dishes were quite ‘traditional’ so you need to be prepared for a slightly different texture or take on a familiar dish :) Either way, I’m still happy to return for the meatballs, ricotta cheese and PISTACHIO Gelati! Once again would like to wish Kirk a very Happy Birthday! Thanks for being such a good friend for the past year :)
Daisy@Nevertoosweet, Mr Bao and Kirk paid for all food and drinks with a few perks thrown in e.g. Champagne and the cannoli :)