Traditional Italian

I’m a huge fan of Cicio Cacio in Newtown. When I heard they were opening a second Italian restaurant, Bastardo Ristorante right in Tory Street, I was very excited. An interesting name which translates to Bastard. I couldn’t find them on TripAdvisor and realised they wouldn’t let me list it as a new place, due to its offensive name! Seriously? Anyway they reside in the former Pan de Muerto Mexican, and they’ve put their traditional Italian mark on it. I just loved the entrance, as it really looks like an Italian trattoria.Hubby was the first person to arrive. He sat at the bar and said he was greeted well and kindly looked after by the Chilean bartender. Hola. We then got a booth seating (ye-ah) and started to peruse the large menu. The maitre’d Italian man took our order for a bottle of house red, which was very good, along with a bottle of sparking mineral water. He also took the food orders. After that the service was just hilarious. We had to ask twice for some extra glasses. We had about three different staff come to our table at odd times, so as well as follow-up for some glasses, we then had to ask twice for our butter/olive oil. Most of the staff would literally run past us with eyes downcast to avoid having to see us waiving our arms. There was obvious no communication, so no-one knew what each other was doing. This is a big place granted, but it was early and not overly busy. Another example of a system that just isn’t working, in a place that has so much potential.

As for the food, my word it was faultless. We shared the octopus in tomato sauce and the calamari and they were delicious. A free basket of bread was delivered which is good for mopping up the sauce, but not good for the gluten-sensitive. They had a fab list of entrees, pastas and mains it was actually hard to choose and I kept changing my mind. I was keen for some gnocchi in blue cheese, sage and walnuts and then decided to share a pork schnitzel with hubby. It was divine. The other guys had a seafood risotto and an osso bucco in saffron risotto. These were equally so tasty and authentic. For greens I was so keen to order their wilted spinach with garlic and lemon. Italians so know how to do spinach. However we got the biggest excuse ever telling us, they only source seasonally and it was not available in winter! Whatever! It’s $2.50 a bunch at the markets, despite other veges being so pricey currently. We finally settled on the brussel sprouts and they were very nice.

The maitre’d wheeled the dessert trolley over, how cute and old-fashioned. The wee cakes and tartes looked more French than Italian. They looked lovely but I was expecting tiramisu or cannoli. I think he was offended we didn’t choose one.  We were actually really full, as the portions were very generous. Good for us athletes. We weren’t offered coffee but we didn’t need one.  Normally hubby will splash out and have one when dining Italian. In Italy sometimes you’ll get offered a free shot of limoncello.  I always find that such a nice gesture. Something to remember them by, as no-one else does it.

Anyway if you love Italian, the food is fantastic. Maybe wait awhile, until they sort out the service. Geez I hope they sort out the service. Maybe they need to import some CicioCacio spin on it. Also if you BYO spinach, ask them to cook it for you with garlic, lemon and butter. You’ll understand what I mean.

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