Mannaggia a Trois is a trio of three chefs, 2 Vietnamese Chinese and 1 Italian that cook Italian Asian inspired food. The food comes ready to finish off at home with dishes like saffron tagliolini with spanner crab or culurgiones or stuffed Sardinian pasta pockets along with garlic bread, cocktails and a dessert too. And get in quick because September 26th is their last collab!
“Mannaggia A Trois” is a collaboration between chefs Alex Wong, Hai Le and Andrea Sonnante. Alex and Hai were close friends having worked together on and off for the last 6 years while Hai and Andrea worked together most recently at 10 William St in Paddington. Alex says, "We all have a love for Italian food as well as a love of Asian flavours given two of us have Vietnamese and Chinese heritage. We came up with the idea in the first COVID lockdown. We all had the idea of doing a collaborative event where we could step outside the boundaries of traditional Italian cuisine and have a bit of fun, serving Italian food with no limitations and a cool wine offering by our friend Mattia from Vinomito."
The name Mannaggia A Trois is a play on the three amigos which is how they see each other, “Mannaggia translates to damn or in used in a certain context “far out” for example 'Mannaggia la Miseria' or 'far out the misery!'. We thought it would be funny since there are three of us to make it “Mannaggia A Trois” like the French Threesome “Ménage a trois” kind of like a piss take on the three amigos. We like to see the name as inappropriate like us," says Alex.
While the menu changes every time there is always their signature Bagna Cauda garlic bread, a pasta course (with a meat and seafood option), a dessert and a cocktail designed for two people. They choose dishes based on what they like to eat and discuss the menu ideas together. "We start for a traditional Italian dish and then twist it with some other products, ingredients and add some Asian flavours inside. We noticed how Italian cuisine goes really well with Japanese or Chinese seasoning produces such as: soy sauce, black wine vinegar, mirin, anchovy sauce, oyster sauce. It elevates the whole dish to another level, bringing up the umami. As well as still keeping a bit of integrity of Italian food," says Alex.
Ordering is done through DM on Instagram and pick up is from Sagra restaurant in Darlinghurst on Sundays and they also deliver up to 30kms from Darlinghurst. The packs include cocktails, garlic bread, pasta and dessert for two. You can also choose a pack with either a serve of the curligiones ($75) or the saffron tagliolini with spanner crab ($85) or if you choose the spanner crab you can also get a culurgiones for two people for $40 extra. It takes around 35 minutes to get everything ready and that day they put up some IGTV videos to their Instagram account showing how to cook the two pasta dishes.
I dip the rims of the glass in egg white and salt and fill them with the sagra-rita. This is a delicious spin on a margarita made with blood orange juice. The bagna cauda buns are already wrapped in foil so these just go in the oven for 10 minutes. These are soft with a generous amount of garlic and anchovy butter that seeps through the bun. The buns are also handy to mop up the pasta sauces.
The culurgiones are Sardinian filled pasta pockets with a strong resemblance to Chinese pleated dumplings. These are popular in the Ogliastra region, a mountainous area of eastern Sardinia and are usually filled with potato, pecorino and mint. Here they are filled with braised duck and potato and served with a taleggio cream and black vinegar jus made with duck jus seasoned with dried shiitake mushrooms and Chinkiang black vinegar. "We thought it would be cool to do an Asian ish - Italian dumpling like ravioli, so we chose that shape," says Alex. It's also easy to prepare and involves boiling the dumplings for 3-4 minutes and heating up the black vinegar jus with butter provided and then drizzling this and the taleggio creme all over the curligliones.
The spanner crab saffron tagliolini is also easy to prepare and involves heating up the crab bisque sauce with the confit tomatoes. I added the spanner crab, Andy's sambal and microherbs and it's done. This pasta has a good al dente texture to it and the crab and bisque are delicious especially with the textural contrast of the sambal (my only complaint, I could have easily used more sambal). Serves are generously sized and you could just go with one pasta for a tasty lunch or dinner for two.
Lovers of tres leches cake and tiramisu are covered with the dessert that combines the two desserts. "We love Tres Leches and Tiramisu so we just decided to try and combine them together. Sorry to all of the Tiramisu Purists out there," says Alex. The sponge cake is soaked in buttermilk, cream, condensed milk, espresso, Kahlua and Marsala. On top is a mascarpone whipped cream and salted chocolate crumb. The dessert is like a super moist version of tiramisu but with chunky, crunchy salted chocolate crumbs on top. The only issue is fighting over that last bite.
So tell me Dear Reader, do you like takeaway where you prepare it at home or do you prefer it all prepared for you? What is your favourite fusion combination?
This meal was independently paid for.
Mannaggia a Trois