This has definitely been the longest break I’ve gone without blogging – motivation waninggg – but I’m back ..again ! And hopefully for good this time :)
I always hear about how there are lots of places to eat in Epping, but I never really see them ..I guess because they’re just too well hidden.
But for my birthday (which was, incidentally, a very long time ago), my darlings <3 took me to BORRELLI’S, an Italian restaurant only 5 minutes walk from the station.
At 6pm the restaurant is rather deserted, but it’s pretty much the calm before the storm – turns out they get a sizeable crowd at 7pm – and so by 7.30pm the entire place is packed.
At first glance, Borrelli’s looks teeny ..until you’re led to a private room in the back, perfect for intimate gatherings.
The lighting was dim and there was Italian music playing in the background – and I’d say the Borrelli’s owner is definitely attentive to detail – I remember he was fiddling with the aircon because he kept coming back to ask if the temperature was warm enough.
Risotto Funghi (vegetarian) – $18, or entree for $14
Trio of pan fried wild mushrooms with garlic, white wine and creamy Arborio rice
It’s nice that the menu pointed out that they use short-grain Arborio rice. From what I’ve heard, most places that make risotto try and use the Chinese long-grain, which doesn’t produce the sauce for risotto very well (Food for thought: did you know that you’re not actually supposed to add any cream/sauce/milk to risotto ‘cos it’s supposed to come from the rice itself!)
What makes a good risotto IMO is the creaminess of the sauce (and the texture of the rice), and this was perfect :) I’m not usually a fan of soggy, saucy risotto, but this rice wasn’t soggy nor was the sauce watery – and the amazing thing was, that the sauce all came from the rice !
Spaghetti Marinara – $23
Al dente spaghetti tossed with a medley of seafood, including fish, prawns, calamari and mussels cooked in a white wine, garlic and chilli tomato sugo
I’m really stretching my memory trying to remember what the food here tasted like. The sauce was a weak tomato, but the spaghetti was really good – it was firm but not overly chewy – sturdy enough to bite, but not hard and crunchy like undercooked spaghetti.
Cannelloni – $18, or entree $13
Home made crepes filled with a mixture of veal, chicken, spinach and herbs. Presented on a bed of rich tomato sugo and topped with creamy bechamel and mozzarella gratin
I love cheese and tomato, and this dish was pretty much cheese and tomato ! I don’t particularly like sugo, just because I find it a little too watery for my liking, even though this tomato sugo was a bit more like soupy tomato puree. The crepes were paper thin and drowning in tomato sugo, but definitely a winner if you like savoury crepes.
Melanzani al forno (Oven baked eggplant) – $22.50, or entree $13.50
A tower of grilled eggplant and zucchini layered with bocconcini mozzarella, fresh tomato, basil pesto and parmesan cheese. Baked in the oven and served on a bed of tomato sugo with a side of kumera crisps
I’m not used to eating such soggy eggplant, ‘cos my mum makes really nice grilled eggplant :)
Then again, I thought the whole dish tasted kind of bland, and the eggplants were all stacked on top of each other, making some kind of soggy eggplant castle on a tomato moat :s
Funghi con l’aceto ragu e Polenta (trio of mushroom with balsamic glaze and baked polenta) vegetarian – $21.50, or entree $13.50
A hearty trio of mushrooms ragout with red onion, garlic and balsamic glaze, presented on a disc of baked polenta (vego)
This polenta was such a disappointment compared to the crisp, crunchy one at Villa Moura ! Maybe because the ones there were polenta cubes, and not soaked in mushroom sauce, whereas Borrelli’s polenta resembled a mushy cake bathed in mushroom. Maybe that’s the way polenta is supposed to be served, but I like it a bit more crunchier. You’d also expect it to taste slightly acidic as well because of the balsamic glaze – but that’s the beauty of Borrelli’s, I guess – bar the sauce, everything else is subtle.
Capesante con radicchio e prosciutto crudo (Scallops with radicchio and prosciutto) – $19.90, or entree $15.90
Pan seared scallops wrapped in prosciutto and served on a bed of radicchio with a sweet lemon and seeded mustard dressing
I usually eat scallops Asian style, so to try Italian-style scallops was a refreshing change. The scallops were fleshy and sweet, with a tang of lemon. I’d definitely recommend trying these – I felt as if I was eating salad but in scallop form instead. Very tasty :)
The one thing I can say about Borrelli’s is that they looove their tomato. Also, their use of herbs is sparing, so if you don’t like an overpowering taste of basil in your food, this is probably perfect for you. There’s also something about their attention to detail in terms of food and presentation that makes me say it’s genuine Italian cuisine (but what would I know?).
And a muchas gracias to my lovelies for taking me out that night ;)
Borrelli’s (visited 13/06/09)
3 Bridge St
Epping NSW 2121
Ph: (02) 9876 6563