Image credit: www.vini.com.au
Vini is the kind of place where awkward first dates culminate into fine romances, where the heady combination of Italian food & wine makes even the cynics amongst us smile! Tucked away in a little corner of Holt Street and Devonshire Street, this small Italian restaurant is unassuming in it’s appearance, but the throng of people waiting outside give it away. Chef Stephen takes his inspiration from regional Italian cuisine and the result is a sophisticated flavour explosion.
But it’s not all serious business at Vini, the atmosphere is casual and relaxed, the waiters chatty and helpful, and the food non fussy. The menu is written on the black board walls and takes some craning of the neck to read. And most of it is in Italian, so you unless you are fancy like that, seek help from the ready to help staff who offer some very good recommendations. The lighting is a bit dim and the seating cramped, but goes with the overall mood of the place.
We started our dinner with some excellent crispy duck salad with orange, fennel and radicchio with buttered lentils. The dish was so simple that it was super delicious. Out of the mains of Pulled Pork Ragu’ Pappardelle, and, slow cooked lamb shoulder with vegetables, the pasta was the better one. The pappardelle was silky in texture and the ragu’ itself was flavourful and well balanced with a hint of herbs, and the pork shining through, with black olives to give it that punch.
And to finish off our lovely meal we tried their Espresso Caramel Panna cotta with toasted almonds which was just perfect in every way. The delicate, slightly wobbly panna cotta, sitting on top of a generous serve of espresso caramel sauce that was just the right sweetness, sprinkled with toasted almonds, made for a perfect ending to a delicious meal. The wine list is exhaustive and you will find something to suit every taste.
Overall I loved the pace, the negatives if any were the cramped seating space and the ‘no reservations’ policy. You put your name down for a dinner service after 7:30pm and the restaurant calls you as and when they have a table, which might result in having to wait a while.
Vini, 3/118 Devonshire St, Surry Hills NSW 2010