The main dining room of La Rosa feels like stumbling into a confessional, what with candelabras – complete with sooty stains on plastered walls – black screens with rosy cross cut-outs, and long velvet curtains, as richly red as a Roman priest’s cassock. A bevy of black-clad staff move around the dining room with purpose, eyes fixed firmly upon the task at hand. When their attention turns to you, things move quickly – first an approachable Aussie 2012 Scott Fiano ($74.90), then a flurry of dishes. Nduja Bruschetta ($16.50) – soft Calabrian salami paste – is bested by our salumi selection, thin slices of cured wild boar sausage – Salsicce ‘Mignon’ di Cinghiale ($16.90) with pickles, bread and olives. The same green Sicilian beauties make a showing in Cetriolo e Schiacciate ($13.50), a side salad which surprises with vibrant, crisp cucumber. It’s a good foil for Cavolfiore al Tartufo ($24), a pizza that tops a credible (though not perfect) base with a decadent mix of roasted cauliflower, buffalo mozzarella and truffled pecorino. Also in the onslaught are a Char-grilled Asparagus Salad ($22) that sees us hunting for wedges of organic Gorgonzola dolce latte; and simple baked pumpkin and ricotta-filled pasta tubes – Cannelloni col Ripieno di Zucca ($26) – with mustard fruits and Parmigiano. It’s quite the feast.
Shop 133, Level 2, The Strand Arcade, 193 Pitt Street, Sydney
Ph: (02) 9223 1674 larosathestrand.com.au
Italian, Pizza, Wine $$$