Friday Night (Shangri-la, Uccello & Hemmesphere)

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Blu Bar (Shangri-La)

So it’s Friday and Travel Czar finds himself at Blu Bar in the Shangri-La. I am here with a group of people (it’s a random night – I actually only know one person when I get here). We start with Champagne at Blu Bar on 36 – just the way to kick-off a Friday!

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It’s a mix of people, one girl is from London but lives in New York (and she just flew in today), another two folks are from Melbourne and ones from London and now lives in Perth and I’m from Perth and live Sydney…. I am really part of the Jetset club here. Throw in a couple of wild wedding stories, Purple boots stories, old memories of school and plenty champagne and you start to get the idea it’s going to be a fun night.

Uccello

So we finish our drinks and leave the Shangri-La and find ourselves looking for a restaurant for dinner. We call around and manage to get a spot at Uccello opposite Ivy Pool… good old fashioned rustic Italian fare with a view. We walk in and well there’s the beautiful pool gazing at us with the “look at moi” crowd surrounding it…. although I am more captivated by their amazing selection of wine.

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We order the 2010 Peppoli Chianti Classico to kick things off. This is lovely and pairs with a broader range of food. It’s medium bodied with the softness of the red berry fruit flavours with a with soft tannins which provide some bite and a lovely savoury finish to give a full drinking experience.

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So then we start with the Antipasti and Primi – and here’s what we have:

I have the ‘Risotto Milanese’ saffron and bone morrow risotto

The dish has the taste of the rich smoky bone marrow (which I scoop out and mix with the risotto) paired with the creamy thickness of the risotto combined with the sweet honeyed hints of saffron. It’s a masterpiece. The rice (cooked al dente) offers the perfect “disruptive” texture to this creamy dish. It’s decadent, it’s love, it’s everything you could wish for on a Friday night – pure soul food.

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The others have the following dishes….

Char grilled sardines, lemon, chilli, parsley (They look similar to the ones I had at Cafe Nice)

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Buffalo mozzarella, Black Figs, San Daniele prosciutto (If you’re into your cured meats… recommend checking out Tapavino)

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I was so envious of this dish. I wish I ordered it!! Just a bit of background, I first tasted the San Daniele prosciutto back in 2010 on a Qantas flight to London and it has captivated me ever since. The San Daniele is made exclusively from pigs which come from farms in the ten regions of central Northern Italy. The maturing process involves sea salt and environmental conditions specific to the region which have the right level temperature/humidity/ventilation to dry the thigh meat into the prosciutto. For the San Daniele prosciutto only the rear thighs of the pigs are used as they have the correct structure for natural drying. The meat has this intense aroma with a lovely sweet and delicate taste. This is a great example of a simple dish made with quality produce.

We then move onto the main courses…

I settle on the Spring lamb shoulder with caponata, pine nuts, mint

The roast lamb has just fallen off the bone, mixed with capaonta, pinenuts and mint. The soft roast onions, tender lamb meat, beautiful crunchy pine nuts and rich broth formed by the juices from the lamb is an array of textures, contrast and amazing taste. The aroma of the mint and other herbs adds to the dish. It’s a simple communal dish which transports you to a village in Northern Italy where people gather around table to share stories over a hearty meal… which pretty much reflects the night – rich delicious food with great company.

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Gnocchi, wild mushrooms, thyme

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Roast blue eye, fennel, orange, olive, strega

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‘Stinco di maiale’ roast pork shin, fennel, bay, potato

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We share some lovely side dishes…

Rosemary Potatoes 

Crispy skins of the potatoes combined with the moist inside of the potato mixed with the pungent rosemary and dressed with the silky olive oil is the ultimate comfort food.

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Woodfired Carrots with Marsala and Salted Ricotta 

The soft delicate “melt in your mouth” carrots with a smoky flavours of the woodfired grill still lingering combined with the richness of the ricotta and syrupy coating of the Marsala make for such a taste experience.

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The wine keeps flowing, plenty photos are taken and conversation continues to generate laughter (and stitches). We finish up our dinner and need to decide on our next move.

Hemmesphere

One of our crew insists on going to the dance floor, however one of the other girls has just flown in from New York and is trying to recover from the jet lag… so a lovely lounge bar is on the cards instead. We decide to go to Hemmesphere for a wind-up drink. It’s beautiful, it’s a chilled atmosphere. We get a beautiful lounge in the back to people watch and have a chilled drink before calling it a night. I get my usual Sauternes Deluxe Cup (read my review of the drink here) and one of my friends grabs the Mt Difficulty Pinot Noir.

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Post by Life of a Travel Czar

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