Melbourne has been very generous with Sydney this year. We don't know why or what they want in return, but we're extremely grateful that they've decided to share Jimmy Grants, Chin Chin and Rosetta with us. Cheers guys — we owe you one.
If you haven't visited Neil Perry's Rosetta at Melbourne's Crown Casino, now's your chance to visit it in Sydney; the Italian fine diner has opened at Grosvenor Place in The Rocks.
The sophisticated new ristorante takes its inspiration from the Amalfi coast with blue velvet seating, marble table tops and gold spangled light fixtures. It's an A-class date place, the perfect anniversary venue for holding hands and slurping down the same strand of spaghetti.
But, despite its luxe appearance, the food itself is surprisingly honest and fuss-free (nonna? Is that you in there?). A dish that describes itself as artichokes with almonds, olives and lemon arrives as simply artichokes with almonds, olives and lemon. There's no tweezing of micro herbs and no spherification of sugo. Sure they may add a splash of extra virgin olive oil and a heavy hit of garlic, but essentially it's just fresh, vibrant and thought-provoking food that will made you wonder why your own cooking is so far from the mark (no offence).
Rosetta offers up a simple, two page menu which is divided into antipasti, pasta, secondi, contorni and dolci. Don't take it as a personal challenge, though, there's no pressure to get one of each. Pastas are made fresh daily and feature clever combinations such as the spaghetti with prawns and pistachio ($32) or agnolotti with pheasant and pork ($32). Main courses, meanwhile, offer trattoria classics including grilled market fish ($39), veal Milanese ($42) and chicken cacciatore ($29). For those that have had a rough day, the warm and comforting eggplant parmigiana ($21) spotted with rounds of mozzarella and sprinkled with toasted breadcrumbs, will make everything alright again.
If you think this is Italian food you can recreate at home, think again. This isn't Prego sauce and Woolies-bought crumbed parmi. When the polished fork hits your tongue, you'll get it; and you'll certainly appreciate the clever flavour combinations and premium ingredients. Rosetta does not disappoint.
Images: Katje Ford and Jason Loucas.