Dinner at Fratelli Paradiso

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So the Sydney weather is starting to remind me of Europe this time of the year. It’s rainy, umbrellas everywhere and puddles which ruin my lovely Italian loafers. I decide to escape the rain and go for some Italian for dinner, the criteria is fantastic food, wine and amazing atmosphere. I am left with no choice but to head to my favourite local; Fratelli Paradiso. Fratelli means ‘brothers’ and Paradiso is the surnames of the owners Enrico and Giovanni Paradiso.

It’s a restaurant with a café look on the outside, murals on the wall, gorgeous dark wooden tables, a menu in Italian written in chalk on a blackboard (the waiters explain it to you, with a cute Italian accent, so there are no surprises), and a stunner of an Italian wine list (hand selected by the owners on their frequent visits to Italy). Fratelli is a cultural icon, its quality Italian food, casual limited fuss atmosphere and a gorgeous people watching spot. (Political and business luminaries typically lunch here along with the inner city latte crowd).

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I am seated inside and have the menu explained by a gorgeous Italian girl (typically Fratelli has male wait staff, so this is a change). I decide to go for their speciality the Calamari Sant’ Andrea (lightly battered fried squid on a bed of rocket and balsamic) to start and I opt for Spritz to kick-off the evening. I feel like I am back in Venice again (without the amazing view of course).

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The usual Fratelli freshly baked rustic bread rolls in a basket is brought to my table, which is heaven when dipped in their imported extra virgin olive oil and fresh sea salt.

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Then the Calamari Sant’ Andrea arrives. I bite through the beautiful crispy coating and get to the amazing distinctive calamari taste. This is complimented with the beautiful balsamic tang and peppery rocket leaves. This is how calamari should be done. I am so home right now!

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Then my main course arrives the Lamb Ragu Tagliatelle. I work my way through it and feel so overwhelmed by the dish, I lean back in seat after every bite to recover from the experience. What makes this dish so good, so satisfying, so “complete”? Is it the soft tender “melt in your mouth” lamb, base sauce, the tender pasta done al dente (the pasta is freshly made by Fratelli), or the sautéed breadcrumbs that add the crunch to the dish? I think it’s all of the above.

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I pair the tagliatelle with a glass of Silvio Grasso (Nebbiolo) which just takes the experience to another level. The spice and fruit oriented flavours (typical Nebbiolo) is perfect in washing down the ragu.  I just love this place… its culture, its consistency, its charm and it’s always decadent. The world changes, the weather changes, markets are up and down, but my dear Fratelli Paradiso… I hope you never change!

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