Pitt St Mall
Sydney NSW 2000
Ph : (02) 8072 9999
If you’re looking for somewhere for a very early (5.30pm) dinner in the CBD that can be completed in a maximum of 1 ¼ hours, there aren’t a lot of options. They tend to be cheap and cheerful, and on this occasion, we were looking for somewhere with a little more comfort.
So it was that we found ourselves at the Stuzzi Bar at Spiedo. We had intended to go for the pre-theatre menu, mentioned on their website as operating between 5.30-7.00pm, but were told by our waiter that it did not start until 6pm. Perhaps a website update is in order.
Happy hour snacks
Rather than going with just mains, we decided to go for the assaggini, the small shared plates. You can order two for $25, three for $39 or four for $50. We decided to go for four, plus the chef’s salumi selection. In retrospect, given the size of the salumi plate, three plates would have been sufficient.
A table extension for those times when there's not enough space on the table
What turned out to be the most interesting part of this meal was that with the expection of the salumi plate, which we both agreed was very good, with the servings of soft delicious meat generous (and a nice tartness to the accompanying pickled vegetables), on a more general level we had quite different reactions to the other items.
Salumi selection ($24)
Attractively presented on a recessed tray, the first first two to arrive were the Sciatt’ - fontina cheese in buckwheat and grappa tempura, radicchio ($14) and garfish with Mediterranean dressing ($14).
I liked the Fontina marginally more than my dining companion, though I think we both agreed that the tempura was a bit thicker than we had anticipated. She found it a bit salty, whilst for me, it needed a bit more salt. The dipping sauce, which I admit that I couldn’t identify, did help by giving it some moisture. I eat garfish approximately once a decade, I just can’t seem to take to it. On this occasion, again I just didn’t take to it. It was a smallish serving, with the addition of olives giving it a bit of a bite, but still really not doing it for me.
The second duo were polipo e patate ($14) - grilled octopus, potato, black olives and the classic vitello tonnato ($14), sliced poached veal, tuna sauce, capers. My friend is the vitello tonnato fancier, and didn’t enjoy it as much as I did. I found the thinness of the veal to my liking, and quite liked the delicacy of the tuna sauce, which was fairly thick in consistency. As for the octopus, we both agreed that some acidity (lemon?) would have lifted the octopus, which was tender and perfectly cooked. The accompanying potato was slightly under seasoned for my tastes, but that’s easily remedied.
When we arrived, we were only one of two tables, but by the time we left, the number had expanded to about half a dozen in the Stuzzi Bar area. It was a Tuesday night, and there really didn’t seem to be much happening (yet?) at the three restaurants on that side of level 6. The Stuzzi bar is a comfortable place for either a meal or just some drinks (which some of the other customers were having). It was my first visit to Spiedo, and despite our mixed feelings about these dishes, I would like to return to try some of the items on the main menu.