Life has become very busy at the moment with school, exams and working parents so each week it has been a struggle staying in touch with the family. It was unanimous that on most Sundays we all go out and spend some quality time with one another- lately this has been driving to new locations and visiting a variety of cafes. It so happened that last Sunday my gran who lives with us was attending a birthday lunch in Hunters Hill, Sydney and dad was down in our holiday house at Berry, that mum and I agreed to explore this beautiful upper class suburb plus spend some mother and daughter time together. I had never been to Hunters Hill before and we both wanted to go on our daily walk so we headed down to the lovely waterside and enjoyed the sunshine. After hours of relaxing we soon got hungry, quickly rushed to the car and spotted this cute tucked away Italian café and restaurant called ‘Ottimo Italian Kitchen’. As soon as we were seated we already knew that it would be a superb dinning experience. The atmosphere was splendid as we were situated in a courtyard that was peaceful with soft Italian music surrounding us. It was my kind of place to go, as the number one thing I absolutely cannot stand when eating out is too much noise!
Because we had a late breakfast, we both just wanted a light lunch, which was perfect as their menu consisted of a range of starters and entrees. I ordered the lightly fried calamari accompanied with a lemon, rocket salad and an aioli sauce while mum chose the parmesan, pear and rocket salad. Just to make sure we had the full Italian experience we shared a large bottle of San Pellegrino. The waiter soon provided our meal which looked well presented and smelt wonderful- I could not wait to start eating! Just like I predicted, everything including a little taste of mums salad was delicious and in no time my plate was empty. My first taste of the calamari was sensational, in all honesty I had never tried octopus/squid that tasty before. It is quiet difficult to cook calamari to perfection as it normally has a chewy texture but it was the exact opposite having an unbelievable succulent, freshly seasoned taste that leaves your mouth watering for more. The lemon, aioli sauce and salad worked great with the overall dish as it gave a nice summer tang of flavor. I loved dipping the small fried calamari pieces in the freshly made aioli sauce, as it was smooth and creamy, making each portion melt slowly in your mouth. I would highly recommend ordering this dish on their menu as it was an exquisite healthy summers lunch and was just the right size- not leaving you hungry or too full.
Just because it looked delish I had to pinch a bite of mums salad and found that it was extremely yummy. I must admit I hadn’t had pear in salad before and thought that it might have had a strange acidity to it but was very surprised that the combination of the parmesan and rocket worked magnificently together with the fruit. Since trying this exotic creation, mum and I have continuously been boasting about how nice the salad was that most nights we beg my dad (the masterchef in our family) to prepare one with our dinner. I am so glad that I tried this unusual combination as I think it is one of my favorite salads I have tasted! To get the ultimate range of flavors at home we use corella pears as they have a harder texture and evoke a bit more colour, although any type of pear will do. Before you add and toss them in the salad, marinate them in your own dressing to bring out the sweetness of the fruit. The secret with the pear and the parmesan is to finely chop or grate slices so that you get thin pieces incorporated between the salad leaves which just gives the right hint and balance of the crunchy texture and flavors. The slices of parmesan sprinkled over the dish also evens out the composition of the salad as it introduces slim rich parcels of cheese. I would definitely advise you to go and try this unique dish or add these different ingredients in your salad when cooking.
Another positive aspect of this café is the excellent customer service and quality of the food. The waiter was very welcoming and attended to us just at the right time when we wanted to order and pay. The price range was also reasonable with entrée’s starting from $15-18, Mains $16-28 and desserts $9-15. We were relaxing outside and while time passed I ordered a macchiato and mum asked for her regular pot of English breakfast tea. My macchiato was delectable and was just what the doctor ordered as I was feeling a bit tired and of course craved a decent strong coffee.
Overall we both highly enjoyed our lunch at the ‘Ottimo Italian Kitchen’ and I would recommend anyone who is looking for delicious calamari to definitely visit! It was lovely to finally spend the Sunday with mum and our lunch of course contributed to our fantastic afternoon. Can’t wait for the next family outing!