Recently, I was lucky enough to be invited to a large dinner for Weekendnotes writers at Tazio – an Italian restaurant located on the corner of Flinders Lane and Exhibition St.
Another writer volunteered to write the review on Weekendnotes, but I thought I’d love to add a few more non-Asian restaurant posts to my own personal blog. Did you know I’ve only ever posted one Italian place on my blog?
The idea of the night was to showcase their large tables for functions. The table seated 24 people, thus 12 writers and their plus ones. It was great to meet some of the writers who you see post so often on Weekendnotes, and finally find yourself able to match faces to names.
With the function already catered for us, we were provided with a special Weekendnotes banquet menu (above). The good thing about Italian food is that it is perfect for sharing, thus the menu was designed for exactly that.
They also provided cocktails at a special price ($12.50), but as we were both driving, we chose to have mocktails – Safe Sex on the Beach and a No-jito ($9.50 – these were not included in the banquet). Service was great because we arrived a bit later and as we sat down, someone was already over to check what drinks we would like.
I enjoyed that you could have drinks similar to your usual cocktails but without the alcohol, as I’m not a big drinker anyway, it feels like you’re not left out and don’t miss out on the great flavours!
Whilst everyone arrived, chatted and settled in, the table was served with antipasto – including cured meats, feta, olives and herb bread. I guess I haven’t been exposed to antipasto much in my life to judge it, and found myself eating the usual meat and bread.
Meanwhile, the chef came out to speak to us about Tazio’s concept of simple Italian food and talk us through our dinner menu and plan. He was a bit quiet and not loud-spoken, but we appreciated that he made the time to come out to talk to us at the start and end of the meal.
There was quite a break in between the entree and mains, which could be because they were allowing us time to get to know each other and chat, or also because they wanted to ensure everything came out at the same time.
Sides included patate fritte or chips with roast garlic aioli and salads – I don’t think you can go wrong with aioli but the chips were nothing special. Pictured below is the rucola – rocket, radicchio, parmesan and balsamic, a simple dish, usually $7.50, to lighten up your intake of pizza and pasta.
But this was only the beginning. After this our mains began to appear rapidly. Below is the classic margherita - I once heard someone say that it is best to judge an Italian restaurant on their margherita. These pizzas were thin and simple, herby and flavourful, but this was not the most memorable pizza.
The Della Mare – prawns, spinach, mozzarella (below) looked interesting, but I didn’t feel the prawns suited the pizza. I feel like there needs to be a little more topping to compliment it or something added to the sauce to make it work.
I did enjoy the last two pizzas more than the others, the Veneto – roast peppers, goats’ cheese, pancetta (Italian cured pork belly) and Treviso – crushed oven dried tomato, caramelised onion, basil.
The Treviso felt like a more exciting vegetarian option than your classic margherita, with its extra dimension of flavour from their caramelised onion, feta and herbs.
The Veneto was also a simple meat option for a pizza, with a good amount of goat’s cheese. A suitable creation to represent an Italian restaurant with goats’ cheese and pancetta, a sort of Italian cured meat similar to bacon/ham.
Many people fell in love with the prawns, tomato and lemon zest risotto, but I have always found risotto tends to be too creamy for my liking, and this was one of them. Eating too much of a creamy or cheesy meal usually does not sit well with me after a while.
Meanwhile, the penne amatriciana - chicken, pancetta, chilli, garlic, napoli – did not seem that different from a similar dish my mum usually whips up at home. The sauce at Tazio does taste slightly different and more authentic, but still does not warrant any exclamations that it is the best dish.
Overall, the night was more for a good catch up and chat, full of getting to know people and enjoying food surrounded by people you usually aren’t surrounded by. The food was good, with some pizzas earning my tick of approval, but generally not outstanding.
Mon’s Adventures was invited for a complimentary banquet with eleven other Weekendnotes writers and friends – all to promote their function table.