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Despite the torrential rain outside, here there’s a mellow buzz in the air. We are attending a Langham Hotel function and no, we are not in an elegant Langham foyer. There are no Langhams in Sydney. Yet. However, we are told there is one coming soon, which is good news.
For now, we are being plied with crumbed stuffed olives and tortellini in the entrance area of the Google building across the road from Star City.
But Mr Google is not present either.
Tucked at the back of the foyer and opening onto the grassy quadrangle of Trouton Place is one of Sydney’s better–kept secrets. Though, even as we speak, the word is getting out about this place which quietly opened in 2010.
This is the third function I have attended here and I am vowing to return in daytime with my shopping bag as it’s just too frustrating to sit at tables and dine on the magnificent food created by the Signorelli G. team without being able to stock up on all the ingredients.
Apart from that I am not being true to the mantra of this place: Eat Drink Shop Cook is writ large on the window and I am not content keeping just two of these commandments.
The shelves hold a tempting array of mostly imported olive oils, balsamicos, olives, condiments, rice, and pastas, augmented by only the best of this country’s products. There’s a Wine Room and a Cheese Room at the rear of the restaurant, and open kitchen at the opposite end, and the central kitchen island is lined with displays of smallgoods and antipasti. A haze of aromas: coffee intertwined with whiffs of parmesan and salami, oregano and garlic and tomato, laces the air.
I decide I want to live here!
Perhaps the closest I’ll get though is to pick up on the fourth part of SG’s slogan. Cook.
We get a taste of it when chef, John O'Riordan, demonstrates to the Langham chiefs and us, the invited guests, how to make the tallegio cheese and walnut ravioli which is top of our menu list for the evening. It is fun and instructive. I did not know, for instance that using bread flour instead of pasta flour could make my pasta dark.
For those of us who need to know even more, this amazing place has a whole line-up of cookery classes on its website. There are seasonal cookery programs as well as special ones for ‘bambine & ragazzi’ in the school holidays.
So what did we eat at this superlative Langham meal? The aforesaid ravioli, of course, served with a sage and nut butter sauce, followed by the tenderest beef fillet with celeriac mash and crispy sage, and then a selection of desserts: silky smooth affogato, mini lemon meringue pies, tiny but addictive orange blossom cakes, passionfruit curd with bay leaf crumble, the richest chocolate pistachio egg dome, and cheese platters featuring offerings (no doubt from that Cheese Room): grana paclano, ossau iraty and gorgonzola piccante with wafer-crisp bread and muscatels.
I have to be honest. It was a great temptation to stay on, maybe stowing away in the cheese room, but ultimately we did the right thing and made our way out into the frigid night. We’d had a few hours in virtual-Italy, after all, and the parting Arrivedercis of the staff confirmed this.
With me I took my newly-made resolve that I would be back – next time carrying either a shopping bag or an apron.
Signorelli Gastronomia, Ground Level, Accenture/Google Building, Trouton Place, Pyrmont (opposite Metcalfe Park), (02) 8571 0616. Open Mon-Wed 10-6, Thurs-Sat 10am- 10pm, Sun 10am-4pm
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