Monday, May 17, 2010

Multi-tasking at Signorelli Gastronomia

Where’s the latest place to go for a casual Trattoria-style lunch or dinner, salumeria selection, drink at the bar, cooking class or a gourmet shopping experience which includes wine?

Signorelli Gastronomia at Doltone House, Darling Island Wharf, 48 Pirrama Road, Pyrmont is a haven for all things Italian with a local flavour. The whole space has been devised by Paul Signorelli and his sisters, Anna Cesarano and Nina Milazzo, as homage to their late father, the pioneering greengrocer and hospitality entrepreneur, Biaggio Signorelli. They’ve even commissioned a sculpture of him outside.

The antipasto bar

I had lunch there a couple of weeks ago with my mate Glenn Wheeler, from radio 2GB.

I first met Executive Chef James Viles of Doltone House’s Darling Island Wharf, years ago when I taught a special holiday class at Pittwater House school. I have seen him sporadically over the years and it was great to see him here. The menu encompassed wood-fired pizza, stone oven dishes (including porchetta with agrodolce – traditional Italian sweet and sour – requiring 24 hour pre-order), oysters, a comprehensive list of cured meats, primi, secondi and dolce.

The salumeria selection

We trialled a little of many menu items from the salumeria selection from crisp pizza and a wonderful squid ink risotto with Hawkesbury cuttlefish and soft poached egg. Though it’s hard to go past the goat’s cheese & broadbean ravioli with glazed golden beetroot or the beef served with either foie gras, gorgonzola or porcini butter. To finish, an affogato of ice-cream, espresso and little gel ''pearls'' of Nocello formed in a calcium bath.

After lunch I visited the cheese room and checked out the food offerings. Interestingly the focus was on local produce. Apparently Signorelli Gastronomia’s philosophy is to stock seasonal produce, mainly sourced within a 100 mile radius. I was told there are more than 500 product lines.

I stuck my head in the wine room – an impressive 200+ bottle collection of Australian and international wine as well as a shelf devoted to organic wine.

I left nearly three hours later with the biggest rib eye on the bone you’ve ever seen – of Flintstone proportions - it weighed 1.6 kilos. It cooked beautifully on the BBQ, some of the time with the lid down and rested nicely. It’s nearly time to go back and get another one.
The cooking school also looks interesting and there is a calendar of upcoming tastings, exhibitions and events on their website.

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