Balla (The Star)

By

The Restaurant

When it comes to selecting a restaurant, its hard to go past a stunning view, a location with a hip vibe (and a casino) and some amazing Italian cuisine with a wine list littered with amazing Italian varietals. Here is the view as we walk in.

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The Bread

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The foccacia bread was soft salty and had a lovely herby touch to it. When dipped in the olive oil a wonderful refresh streak of light Mediterranean flavours encased the bread. A lovely treat to start.

Entree

For the entree, I can’t go past the tagliatelle with slipper lobster.

Tagliatelle with slipper lobster, tomato, capers and oregano

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The rich succulent lobster is a pure treat, especially when paired with the ripe juicy tomato based sauce. The light tang of the capers adds an extra dimension of flavour along with the earthy herby oregano in what is a truly a classic Italian dish. The tagliatelle pasta is firm but soft with a real a wonderful pure wheaty flavour and does an effortless job of holding the ingredients of this together.

My dining companion makes a wise choice choosing the (very rich)…

Ravioli filled with gorgonzola and radicchio, walnut cream

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Main

For the mains there is a wide variety of choices, but I keep coming back to the duck and eventually it is my chosen dish…

Pan roasted duck breast with sautéed parsnip, radicchio, mustard plum

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The rich gaminess of the duck is a delight and the smokiness of the parsnip with its soft flesh offers a different texture to the dish. The crunch and the bitterness of the radicchio provides the dish with some balance, while the sweetness and tang of the mustard plum sauce was the perfect accompaniment to the duck’s intense flavour. A very good dish which with well balanced flavours and textures.

My dining companion chooses the veal, which looks absolutely divine!

Veal fillet wrapped in prosciutto, buffalo mozzarella and tomato

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Roasted Carrot, Eschallot and Hazelnut

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The firmness of the carrots and crunchiness of the hazelnuts with the smoky soft eschallots provide for a wonderful side with a beautiful array of textures, colours and flavours.

Wine

The restaurant stores its Wine List on an ipad, which is so very different even this age of digital technology. The ipad has tasting notes and a good overview of the wine to assist in your selection.

Wine List

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I peruse the wine menu… touching on all the different varietals before arriving at my choice. I have had the Aglianico at Aria Restaurant for my birthday last year and it was a wonderful wine (you can read about that amazing dinner here).

Villa Matilde, Rocca dei Leoni, Aglianico (2011)

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The wine is amazing. It is grown on a vineyard with steep slopes and volcanic soil which is rich in phosphorus and potassium. The vines themselves are very old Aglianico vines which were first planted in 1970.

The wine has wonderful aroma of  intense spice and blackberries. On the palate the wine has wonderful velvety texture with the full bodied flavours of the blackberries and red fruit flavours. Some well balanced tannins round out the wine to provide the perfect drinking experience.

IMG_20150320_182929_hdrSo ends a wonderful evening with fine Italian cuisine, a lovely Italian wine and at a superb location. The wine list is extensive and the service was friendly and the decor was elegant.

We didn’t stay dessert but we did kick on to Gelato Messina for an ice cream!

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