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By Heather• 10 Jun 2017 • 7 Comments
Bastardo is found at…... 82a Tory Street where Pan de Muerto used to be.
You can expect….. an American-Italian restaurant with uncomplicated Italian fare in a nostalgic atmosphere. I spent my first ten minutes looking around to see where Frank Sinatra was and whether Al Capone had arrived yet.
Giulio (of Cicio Cacio and Franziska fame) and Maurizio (distantly connected to THE Versace’s) are immigrants to NZ and wanted to re-create the bohème (I know, its French, but isn't it a wonderful word?) of Italians arriving to New York and forging new lives. Of having to adapt to fit in. And working hard to make dreams come true.
All of the staff are immigrants in one way or another, and all grafted to paint and decorate the restaurant. They also get together for a ‘family’ dinner after the end of service, which nearly had me signing up on the spot.
With Bastardo being a term applied to someone who’s making a bit of noise and stamping their mark, I’d say they’ve nailed it.
We had…. A complimentary basket of milk, ciabatta and focaccia breads to start (important note – pace oneself verrrry carefully!), followed by pumpkin cappellacci with butter, sage and hazelnut cream; beef Ossobuco on saffron risotto; and a round from the olde-worlde glam of a dessert trolley. And because you’re not truly finished there, one of the smoothest grappa’s we’ve ever had.
The cappellacci was nicely al dente and generously stuffed, while the Ossobucco was supremely rich and comforting, with 8-year aged Sapproso balsalmic to cut through the richness.
The side greens had a decent dose of chilli, as did the Italian EVO with the bread, so be prepared to lose a nose hair or two if you happen to inhale at the wrong moment, unless you’re Richard Cook and then you probably won’t even notice.
And that trolley. If ever there was case for dessert first, this is it. The lemon cheesecake on a thin square of white chocolate was the best I’ve had in a good long time, and the dense pannacotta not far behind. With all items at $5 apiece.
The drinks… range across Italian apperitifs and wines, Italian soft drinks and fruit nectars, and international cocktails and beers. There is deliberately no wine by the glass on the menu as the team open a different one as their ‘house’ wine every two days to keep things interesting and fresh (don't argue with mama!).
The service… was welcoming and personable with the right amount of olde-worlde charm and styling (that Versace connection methinks). Daniel operated that trolly with flair, and I was a teensy bit in love with Maurizio well before then.
What tickled me most… was all steaks being served with bone marrow - not something you see every day.
And what I’m eyeing up for next time… is the tuna oreganata with pistachios, oregano crumbs, saute veges and onion jam. And the little fritti platter, the octopus pizzaiola, the beef crudo, the orecchiette oxtail ragu, the fennel sformato, the vellutata truffle and porcini potatoe sides, and another go-round with that dessert trolley.
Definitely a fast first next time!
Lunch and dinner 7 days.