Parmigiano Sagra Dinner at Berta, Surry Hills

23 April 2012, 01:32

I have been dying to go to Berta (17-19 Alberta St, Sydney) for a while now where word on the street is that their Tuesday Sagra dinners are pretty awesome. So after stalking the website and seeing which ingredient tickled my fancy I booked the boy and I in for the Parmigiano dinner ($55p/p for 4 courses).

Board of spectacularly delicious nibbles! Frico (parmesan crisp), Torta Frita (fried wafer stick), gorgeously transparent slices of lardo, ribbons of baby pink prosciutto, a hunk of naturally matured 24month old pecorino, blob of sweet mustard pears and a pile of slightly tart balsamic pickled eschallots. This entree board was freaking awesome, the board was to share between the two of us and we managed to demolish it in seconds.

Oh and then the Wet Polenta with Porcini and Truffle Mushroom arrived when we were about halfway thru the board. Normally I hate polenta. Hate it with the passion of a thousand suns. But woah this polenta was actually quite tasty! I know I’ve always had issues with the texture of polenta and how it’s weirdly grainy but Berta’s was surprisingly creamy and with an almost velvety texture of pureed potato and the slices of mushrooms were fought over because mushrooms are awesome no matter what.

I pretty much love all kinds of pasta and the Casconcelli Pasta was no exception. 3 fat pasta bows was stuffed with pear nubbins and creamy ricotta and bathed happily in sage and parmesan butter with just a drizzle of balsamic vinegar to cut the richness. It was incredible and I pretty much scraped the bowl clean and would have guiltily licked it had I been alone..

I was really looking forward to the Slow Roasted Scotch Fillet with Fennel, Chicory and Potatoes however I was not expecting the scotch fillet to have a crumbed parmesan crust. It kinda felt like eating a panko crumbed tonkatsu or a schnitzel? It was tasty, but I would’ve preferred the steak minus the outer layer as it was a perfect medium rare and incredibly tender and awesome with the roasted fennel. There was a side of chicory and potatoes but I uh totally forgot to take a photo..

Custard, Figs, Hazelnuts, Honey. And then there was dessert. Dessert is always my most favourite part of the meal however I just wasn’t a fan of this, mainly because figs are one of my all time least favourite fruits in the world but mainly because there was a scattering of rosemary which killed all the other flavours and all I could taste was the damn rosemary. I mean, I like rosemary on lamb but herbs and/or flowers in my desserts just doesn’t play well with me. What I could taste of the parmesan custard was interesting, more of a savoury custard with sweet notes coming from the dabs of honey and richness from the hazelnuts.

Berta is a tad hard to spot, the entrance is a tiny little door next to Cafe Cre Asion but once thru the doors, step past the bar and into the cosy restaurant where this crazy psychedelic wall attempts to brighten up the laneway. I thought $55 for the 4 courses was pretty reasonable, the awesome entree platter was pretty smashing and I’d definitely come back for a giant bowl of Casconcelli. Aaand just a quick update, the lake in my garage has disappeared and the pump has been fixed so hopefully I won’t need a canoe just yet but thanks everyone for the emails!

Berta on Urbanspoon



  1. zomg i love lardo. So much deliciousness! Parmesan custard sounds intriguing and I can only imagine how much butter went into that wet polenta… mmm… butter….

    Helen (grabyourfork)    Apr 23, 01:49 AM    #

  2. I totally forgot about this place since I haven’t been to Cafe Cre Asion in a while, thanks for reminding me :) that’s pretty good value for the food. I agree with the steak even though I haven’t had it but I can imagine it would be a bit odd with the panko-like crumbing, maybe it would work if it were a thin piece of veal.

    Vivian - vxdollface    Apr 23, 01:58 AM    #

  3. Its a shame the board of nibbles isnt bigger or just for one- I too could gobble it up in seconds.
    Its an interesting idea crumbing a slow cooked steak, Im glad it was perfectly cooked.
    I have never seen this place, will keep on eye out in the future.

    Flick Your food    Apr 23, 05:27 AM    #

  4. oh i love the polenta at Berta! shame you didnt like the dessert, i am a huge fan of figs :)

    gastronomous anonymous    Apr 23, 10:46 AM    #

  5. I don’t like polenta either but I think you’ve convinced me to try the one at Berta. That entree board looks amazing!

    Jacq    Apr 23, 11:07 AM    #

  6. So many places are starting to plate up food on boards nowadays!
    The pasta looks awesome!

    tastyfoodsnaps    Apr 23, 11:39 AM    #

  7. Ooh, I’ve always wondered about the sagra dinners. Parmesan’s a good choice going by the looks of that starter plate ;) But parmesan custard hey?

    Tina@foodboozeshoes    Apr 23, 12:38 PM    #

  8. The entree board is soo pretty! Think I would need one to myself!

    Food is our religion    Apr 23, 12:42 PM    #

  9. I have a colleague that RAVES about this place so it’s on my “to eat list”. One day I’ll get there. Rosemary on dessert is a bit odd, though I do love figs.

    Miss Piggy    Apr 23, 12:49 PM    #

  10. that entree platter looks amazing!! this place is definitely on the food ‘bucket list!’ :DDD Glad your garage is no longer underwater!! :D

    Kiki    Apr 23, 04:22 PM    #

  11. Oooo been dying to try the Sagra dinners but so hard to choose what ingredient week to attend. The polenta looks great, I’m with you though – normally I find gluggy polenta really gross, but I love the buttery smooth ones :9

    Dee@fooodinhand    Apr 23, 09:26 PM    #

  12. That entree board looks wonderful! Berta has also been sitting quite high on my to-eat list. I’m not sure if you’ve been to Porteno, but they have the most AMAZING creamy cheesy delicious polenta – not at all grainy. There will be a pic in my next post!

    laura    Apr 24, 07:47 PM    #

  13. Not sure how I feel about crumbed steak, but I reckon I could get on board with the rest of that meal. I love the idea of using one ingredient to tie a whole meal together.

    SarahKate (Mi Casa-Su Casa)    Apr 25, 02:39 AM    #

  14. Hahaha I love your comment about hating polenta because I do too! The texture and taste makes me feel it’s just a pile of mush lol

    Jenny    Apr 25, 11:25 AM    #

  15. look so tempting and delicious….Amazing the way you presented each…….

    maggi sandy    Apr 28, 03:49 PM    #

  16. I’m not a fan of figs either – something bothers me about the texture – but somehow I’m cool with polenta!

    Rita (mademoiselle délicieuse)    May 2, 09:42 PM    #

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