Anticipating heavy traffic, I have arrived unfashionably early to Quattro Paste in Balmain. So early that I spend about twenty minutes:
a) laughing at this b) instagramming c) reading the Quattro Paste menu d) staring at the collection of Italian themed tea towels on the walls
I had prepared for dinner in two ways. First I had worked out using ropes (oh so hideous!). Secondly I prepared by scouring the menu on the website. My eyes rested on one item: the bistecca Fiorentina, a fabulous T Bone steak 1 kilo or 2.2 pounds in weight. But would we be able to fit that in along with the pasta? Quattro Paste is the pasta restaurant owned by the same people as Rosso Pomodoro which is known for their pizzas. Quattro Paste focuses on pastas and food from the Emilia-Romagna region of Italy.
Luckily, Belinda's girls Mia and Ruby have their eye on the steak too. Mia even claims that she could probably eat the whole steak herself. Our waitress goes through the starters and mains on the blackboard and we decide on some pastas along with the steak.
A mix of pitted and unpitted and green and black olives, they're a moreish snack that get the taste buds going.
The prosciutto comes as a generous serve with deep fried pizza dough balls. It's thinly sliced and silky smooth and quickly disappears until Mia and Ruby's small fingers.
Prosciutto and burrata $15
I'm a complete burrata freak and when I saw it on the menu I had to order it. It's served on six slices of pane di casa bread, spread with the burrata and topped with folded pieces of prosciutto. The burrata is milky and mild against the salty cured pork.
Lasagne di Mare $25
Our mains come out all at once and I'm quite taken by the comforting mildness of the seafood lasagna. Belinda isn't as keen finding it a touch stodgy but I like the generous amount of fat scallops, calamari and prawns and the creamy layers and I think I end up finishing most of this.
Tagliatelle al ragu di cinta senese $20
The blackboard tells us that they only use free range eggs in their pasta and all of the pasta is home made. The tagliatelle is sunny egg yolk yellow and silky in texture. It's served in a tangle with pork and beef mince ragu which is strong in flavour and sustaining. It's a generous sized serve.
Bistecca alla Fiorentina $69
The grass fed steak from their farm makes its grand entrance. It is enormous and served already sliced. The only way that you can have it cooked is medium rare which suits us just fine. It has an appealing char to the outside and crust while the centre is pink and juicy.
You can choose two sides with the steak and we chose the rosemary potatoes which were thin slices of crispy edged and soft centered potato (although there wasn't much rosemary flavour) and a plate of chargrilled vegetables portioned with two pieces of each.
They set down a cocoa dusted plate and we look a bit closer at it puzzled. Then the waitress comes out holding an enormous bowl of tiramisu and proceeds to dish out an enormous dollop of it on the plate that could serve two. It's good and so filling although there is no way that we could finish the serve.
Ricotta and double chocolate cake $12
The chocolate ricotta cake was recommended to us and it's a layered sponge filled with chocolate filling and covered in chocolate glaze. There is a strong orange flavour (not mentioned in the description) in the base and none of us particularly like chocolate and orange together so the dessert remains mostly untouched after a few tastes.
By now it's still early which is not necessarily a bad thing for a weeknight and we have our takeaway bags-the enormous bone for Belinda's pug Coco and the tagliatelle for Mr NQN (I really did a good job finishing that lasagna).
So tell me Dear Reader, are you an orange and chocolate fan? And how do you pass the time when you arrive somewhere early?
This meal was independently paid for.
85 Reynolds Street, Balmain, NSW
Tel: +61 (02) 9810 9125
Open Tuesday to Sunday 6pm-10pm