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!
23 April 2012