While dining in shopping centres isn’t really my thing, visiting The Strand Arcade late last year, made me feel like a naughty child, unwrapping my Christmas presents early. Niño Zoccali’s two restaurants, La Rosa and Pendolino, sit at either end of this picturesque Victorian arcade. The older sibling has a dark, moody seriousness. It softly whispers: red wine; then seduces you with Ravioli Di Magro Con Burro Fusso ($27.90/$39.90). The hand-made, al dente ravioli glisten under burnt butter and crisp sage leaves, melting in your mouth to reveal their tasty spinach centres. The unctuous richness is cut by the sharp bite of Parmigiano Reggiano. I suspect putting one of these on my tongue is the closest I’ll ever come to understanding Communion. This near-religious experience eclipses my Slow-Roasted Duck Leg ($43.60) main. With desserts here being such a triumph, if you were a light eater, I’d consider doing entree, small pasta, and dessert. Start with Free-Range Raw Beef Carpaccio ($26.50) perfectly balanced by wild baby olives, rocket cress and Tetsun di Barolo cheese, whilst enjoying the trio of Aussie olive oils and bread. Finish with Meringata Di Fragolini E Rabarbaro ($17.90) – a meringue cake that kicks the Eton Mess to the kerb – accompanied by braised rhubarb and wild strawberries, Lambrusco jelly and strawberry sorbet. Game, set, match: Italy.
Shop 100, Level 2, The Strand Arcade, 412-414 George Street, Sydney
Ph: (02) 9231 6117 pendolino.com.au