I don't know if you remember, or even knew, but there used to be an incredible Sicilian restaurant in Sydney on Crown Street. Unfortunately it shut it doors about 3 years ago which was a travesty as it was one of my favourite restaurants. Georges and I are great friends with the couple that owned Cafe Sicilia so when it was time for a catch up we left it up to them to pick the restaurant. When they suggested Italian I didn't blink an eye as I knew their track record with all things Italian/Sicilian had not failed us yet.
Russo and Russo is a tiny street front restaurant nestled away in Enmore. Understated and no fuss it had a real air of old school, traditional Italian. It felt like walking into an Italian grandparents dining room. Beautiful, old sketches and black and white photographs lined the walls and thick, cut marble table tops gave it an old fashioned elegance.
We opted for the chef's selection, sat back and let the courses roll on in. There were flavours and combinations that I had not tasted before and it was a really interesting meal. Definitely not the Italian that I am used to. Their use of classic Italian flavour combinations cooked using modern techniques made for a fantastic reinterpretation of the modern era.
House made goats milk ricotta with grilled Roman beans, preserved lemon, mint, apple and balsamic crumb was delicious. Delicate, light and a perfect start to the feast. I did think the ratio of ricotta to beans was slightly more in favour of the beans and it would have been nice to have more cheese to coat the greens. But delicious none the less.
Ocean trout is one of my favourite fish so when a perfectly cooked fillet got placed in front of me I was a happy lady. Served with potato, black olive pangritata, wild garlic and basil. The presentation was beautiful and delicate and the dish wasn't heavy so left plenty more room for the rest to come.
This was my absolute favourite of the night. Toasted Sardinian pasta with smoked eels, bottarga (pressed fish eggs), wild fennel, chilli and garlic. This was a taste sensation. It seriously packed a punch and was a bold, hearty dish. Comfort food at it's finest.
Rounding off the savouries was pork neck cooked in milk. It was so tender it felt like cutting through silk. I loved the sticky, slightly sweet pickled walnuts which took the edge off the charred leeks and brassicas. It was quite a rich dish and I wasn't able to finish it all but when you have a Georges at dinner, nothing goes to waste.
The first dessert blew me away. So simple, so basic, so uncomplicated. Grilled pan carasau crostini of prosecco cheese with quince and black pepper. Four ingredients working in perfect harmony and complementing each of my tastebuds from sweet, sour, spice and salt. The only problem....there just wasn't enough.
But that wasn't the end of the desserts. We finished on a sheep milk yoghurt and white chocolate panna cotta with citrus fruits and lemon myrtle meringue. Similarly to the first dessert it was a fascinating mix of flavours and I loved the different textures and vibrant, zingy lemon myrtle.
I was really impressed with Russo and Russo and I got to experience flavours that don't come about too often. And if a picture speaks a thousand words than I think the one below says it all. Very happy customers.
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