You don’t generally associate the terms “value for money” and “two-hatted fine dining restaurant” in the same sentence, unless it’s to say that you can’t find the former in an instance of the latter. Basic economics unfortunately dictate that with the fame, comes the restaurant’s ability to raise prices to whatever that limit the “sky” is supposed to be.
But two-hatted Italian restaurant Ormeggio at the Spit has taken a different approach. Sure, they still have their usual 3-digit degustations and a la carte offerings, but on Sundays, they offer what is quite possibly the cheapest meal offered by a hatted restaurant.
It’s called the “Stressless Sunday Dinner”: 69 dollars, 6 courses, Sunday nights only. Why worry about Monday when you can instead worry about what you’ll do with all the money you save from paying so little?
Date Last Visited: 16/11/2014
Address: D’Albora Marinas The Spit Spit RdMosman, NSW 2088
Recommended Dish(es): veal tonnato, tagliolini, 45C egg, carrot cake
It would be tempting to think that with the low price comes a compromise in quality. You know from the way I worded that sentence that I’m going to debunk that.
But no, not just turn your expectations around dear reader. I’m going to go on and say that this is one of the best Italian restaurants I’ve had the pleasure of eating in, and it isn’t just because of the idyllic views of one of Mosman Bay.
There is only one caveat with the stressless Sunday dinner – the lack of bread as a default option. Sure, be optimistic and save on carbs – but why would you, when for $9 you can get an exceptional sourdough w/whipped ricotta for just $9?
This bread ticks all of the boxes – it’s served warm, the crust is crunchy and chewy, the inside fluffy and wholesome. And that whipped ricotta? It may not replace butter as the default, but it’s equally as good, and I am relieved to be able to try something different than butter for once. It’s delicious, a fabulous and often underrated start to the meal.
Spend that $9. Spend it.
Read this description on tonnato:
Fresh white tuna (in most restaurants canned tuna is used today to reduce cost and preparation time) is simmered until fully cooked in white wine, cider vinegar, white onion and garlic, and then puréed with a mix of olive and vegetable oil and egg yolks in an electric blender or food processor to form a thick mayonnaise. For the mayonnaise a variety of seasonings can be used, including anchovies, cayenne pepper and lemon juice. The thick, smooth purée is then somewhat thinned with a little water and cooking liquid from the veal and a few capers are stirred in.
How incredible does that sound? This dish is a spin on traditional veal tonnato, which is cooked veal served with that heavenly sauce. Ormeggio’s spin is to serve it raw, as tartare. The results are as incredible as the dish is beautiful. Due to the tonnato, there’s no pretenses with the sauce’s powerful, tuna-based flavour. It’s almost like eating tuna but with the raw goodness and texture of veal. It’s godly, it’s delicious. To boot, there’s also a bit of crunchiness brought in with the horseradish and toasted pine nuts.
The best tartare I’ve ever had. I can see why it’s always on the menu. Don’t take this one off.
There’s only a fork-ful of the tagliolini available, which is just a huge tease, really. Sure, if it was bad, whatever. Why does it have to be so good?
This is perfectly-cooked pasta. Al dente – the right kind of hardnes; cheesy mascarpone which imparts an incredible aroma; bottarga (fish roe) to impart that little bit of umami.
I’ve always justified my preference for a lot of cuisines over Italian because I never liked it enough to justify how unhealthy and calorific it can be.
I’ve changed my mind – if it’s as good as this.
Ever had a 45 degree egg before? I haven’t, but Ormeggio’s got you covered. Apparently, it used to be a 68C egg, but it was changed. The result is an egg that’s even more “yolky” than a 68C egg. The texture retains much of the consistency of yolk as it comes out of an egg, and tastes eggier as well.
This silky texture is then complemented with a gloriously cheesy pecorino flavour. For once, foam isn’t just superfluous – there’s a lot of flavour there, even as it also simultaneously makes the dish look like an actual sunnyside up egg.
The celeriac base gives the dish extra texture, while also acting as a sponge for the silkiness of the dish. There appear to be little bits that taste a bit like bacon, but I wasn’t sure what it was. What mattered was that I liked it – a lot. Check out the yolkporn video below:
So far I’ve been very impressed with Ormeggio’s dishes. It has been virtually flawless up until now. The beef cheeks were somewhat less impressive, in that I was generally not taken in by the flavour. It was texturally quite nice – so soft it’s almost like butter, but there wasn’t much flavour going on.
You know how I have a thing for pre-desserts, (sometimes, even preferring them over the main dessert)? This is yet another example of a delicious pre-dessert. Sweet, acidic, and slightly bitter, it’s all about the palate-cleansing.
They get me, every time!
It was a little difficult to imagine a carrot cake w/fennel gelato would be Ormeggio’s signature dessert. That is, until you actually bite into it.
Spongy but not mushy, sweet but naturally (not artificially) so, the cake is a simple but effective delight. The slightly liquorice-like taste of the fennel in the ice cream is mild and very palatable. Yes, it does go well with the cake – ice cream and cake always go well together.
While already a winner, I was particularly impressed by the dollops of vinegar caramel on the sides, which adds a strangely tarty but sumptuously sweet caramel zing to the dessert.
A beautiful end to a beautiful meal.
Ormeggio is amazing, that much is certain. The downside? The incredible value offered by the Stressless Sunday Dinner is set to end at the passing of 2014. So, if you’re going to get in on this, get in soon!
P.S. check out my previous post on Ormeggio at the Spit, featuring Gabriele Bonci the “king of Napoli pizza”!
Any great experiences at Ormeggio or a similarly good Italian restaurant? I would love to hear about them in the comments below!
- For the most part, the food is exceptional
- On Sunday nights, the value is unbeatable
- A less-than-stellar beef main
- The Stressless Sunda Dinner isn’t here to stay 🙁
I have a new scoring system! Read all about it here.
Most important takeaway – three separate scores for food, service and ambiance to give the final score. The new system is not comparable to any post prior to 11/11/2014.
F7.5 | S4 | A3