So here's a little background on the main reason I am in Melbourne this weekend. After our fantastic trip to Sardinia and Corsica in June this year, the GS group decided to meet up for a reunion. Well, the time has finally come and we all made it, all but one person. Pretty good I think for all of us who lead such busy lives.
Our reunion meet up was to have dinner at our friend Pietro Porcu's Melbourne restaurant Da Noi, located in South Yarra. I have been looking forward to this reunion as there were so many nice people I had met on that trip that I wanted to reconnect with.
Well, I wasn't disappointed. Deja vu hit me big time as more and more of us came into a specially booked room that Pietro was kind enough to set aside for us. It was located at the rear of the restaurant with it's own spit fire. As I walked in I could see a suckling pig slowly being roasted over the open fire. Wow, what a visual greeting!
The open fire also served to keep the room all warm and toasty; it being a relatively cool evening in Melbourne. I was lucky enough to be given permission to check out the kitchen, the very heart of any restaurant. It was small but occupied by a team of enthusiastic and friendly chefs and apprentices.
After a lot of hellos and catch up talk with the various travel mates, we all eventually sat down to start our meal and that's when the feast started.
Wow, there were plate after plate of authentic Sardinian dishes. I was struggling to keep up with all the names of the dishes. But here is my best attempts at it.
Pork fat infused focaccia - I could have eaten half a loaf of it. So delicious and additive! Yum!
Pane carasau - the very traditional Sardinian bread. Another addictive bread that we had during our trip. Deja vu x 10!
Arancini -a delightful ball of rice and mozarella. Soooo good and delicious!
Sour cheese (2 days old) made with raw buffalo milk with a bit of goat's milk included. The Italian name is Frue. A very traditional dish from Sardinia.
Bottarga with pork lard on pane carasau - bottarga is the famous fish roe that we saw when we were in Sardinia. Traditionally it would be the fish roe of a mullet. Again, déjà vu x 10!
Mussels topped with pepenorata - pepenorata is a rustic cooked pepper mixture often consisting of tomatoes, onions, garlic and olive oil. This dish was one of my favourites. Let me put it this way, I had more than 1 serving!!
Cocoi - pecorino pastry mini tarts. Yummo!
Stuffed zucchini flowers - the filling was prawns, zucchini paste with saffron and served on fennel paste. Another highlight dish for me - bring it on Pietro!!!!!
Salumi platter consisting of a terrine made from the pig's head with walnuts ( I actually liked this dish), sausage from the pork leg with other cold cuts. Note that most the produce is sourced from Pietro's farm located in the Victorian High Country.
Goat's liver, and kid's offal were served with pears and the sauce consisted of sherry vinegar, wine vinegar and balsamic vinegar. The offal dish is called Fricassada. For someone who is used to eating tripe, the dishes didn't put me off. However I am normally not keen on eating liver though, but I was surprisingly game to try it and didn't mind it at all. It was quite flavoursome. Well, there you go!
Ravioli filled with cavolo nero and served with a deep fried and very crunchy cavolo nero. The sauce was made of aged pecorino with bits of walnut. Just a lovely dish combined with crunchy nutty textures and sharpened off with the aged pecorino. I loved it! More please!!!!
Obviously, the master of master dishes, is the platter of suckling pig. Lovingly presented on a wooden board that was plated with heaps of green vegetables. It gave the impression of being out in the countryside of Italy. I did so enjoy the suckling pig, it was tender and had a lovely crackling. And most importantly it was not overly salty.
Another dish that was served when the suckling pig arrived was a traditional goat dish but I didn't get a chance to find out what the sauce was made of. So there you go, I missed one. Not too bad considering we had food galore!!!!
The sweets that finished off our meal was a delightful degustation of lemon sorbet, amaretti, peanut brittle and ravioli di vento (deep fried ravioli filled with almond paste).
Wow! What a feast, and what a reunion! Pietro, you have outdone yourself in showing us your proud Sardinian heritage and cuisine.
Thank you to Da Noi and their staff for coping with such a large group of us. Thank you to Pietro who worked so hard to get everything just right and thank you to all who turned up and made this evening a very memorable one!! Thank you to those who organised this in the background, you all know who you are.
95 Toorak Road
Tel: 03 9866 5975
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