By Franz Scheurer
That Alessandro Pavoni of Ormeggio at the Spit fame is a great chef is clear. His passion for the food of his home is even more obvious and with the opening of Spiedo on level 6 of the Westfield in Sydney he can finally show off the food of the Lombardy region to Sydneysiders. It’s a curious mix of ‘down to earth’ goodness with an elegance and refinement that surprises. In short: it’s terrific.
The initial apprehension of dining in a Westfield is slowly going away with so many good restaurants on level 5 and 6. Spiedo is quite large, with a huge kitchen. It’s divided into a bar (probably the only place in Sydney where you can get a terrific espresso, standing up, for $2) a casual dining area at the front of the restaurant and a cosy, comfortable restaurant on the other side of the kitchen.
What you should come here for, however, is to celebrate the food of Lombardy.
As you peruse the menu and wine list I suggest you start with ‘Stuzzichini’ like the ‘Sciatt’, Fontana cheese in buckwheat and grappa batter with radicchio or maybe just a few ‘Crispy polenta sticks. Chose from a formidable selection of ‘Salumi’ or sample some of the lovely ‘Formaggi’.
The real fun begins with ‘Antipasti’; try the wonderfully succulent ‘Lingua Salmistrata’ pan-fried cured ox tongue with capers, salsa verde and watercress. It’s a cracker! The ‘Cotechino’ served with orange mustard fruit and spinach is one of the best I’ve had and you simply must try the ‘Lumache alle erbe e crema di patate’, braised organic snails, silverbeet, potato puree and egg yolk. I repeatedly went there just to have this dish again and again.
If you like ‘Pasta & Risotto’ then you already know that Alessandro Pavoni is Sydney’s risotto king and I suggest you have the ‘Risotto alla Milanese’, saffron risotto served with red-wine-braised beef cheeks. If you have been to Lombardy or the adjacent Swiss area of Grisons then you have probably eaten ‘Pizzoccheri’, buckwheat pasta with potato, cabbage, sage and Fontana cheese and Spiedo is the only one in this country that does this dish justice. Fanbloodymazing!
For mains you simply have to try the ‘Spiedo Bresciano’ slow roasted spit with pork ribs, pork scotch fillet, quail, duck and all of this is served on a sublime Storo polenta. This is one hell of a dish and of course gives the restaurant its name.
Desserts are just as good, with the Hazelnut Sbrisolona with raspberry mousse and yoghurt sauce taking the honours.
The beverage list is a good mix of the known, the esoteric and the direct imports from Lombardy. I suggest you have a chat to the sommelier and be adventurous in your choices. Hint (psssst!): he’s importing a VERY good beer!
Spiedo is a fabulous, casual and affordable restaurant in the heart of Sydney and I suggest you go and try it. You might find it just as addictive as I do.
Noise: 82 db
Would I go again: yep, on my way right now
Best dish: the snails
For more information or reservations:
Spiedo Restaurant & Bar
Shops 6004-6005, Level 6, Westfield
188 Pitt Street, Sydney
Tel.: 02 8072 9999