As a vegetarian it can be a gamble eating out. Some restaurants only offer one veg friendly dish. More often than not, dining out results in having to request alterations to an existing menu item. If you’re like me and would prefer not to make a fuss, this can be a little challenging. Sometimes you end up with a bland and boring meal.
I was intrigued when Wasamedia offered to send me to a restaurant that has ‘a fantastic range of vegetarian food’. Well then, we’ll just have to see about that! Puntino Trattoria is an Italian restaurant in Woolloomooloo run by Antonio Sabia. The menu is inspired by family recipes and fresh produce grown in the Italian town of Basilicata, the region in Southern Italy where Antonio’s family originate.
The restaurant, a short stroll from the city, seats up to 120 guests with seating out front, inside, in the courtyard and an upstairs function room. The ‘spaghetti sauce jar lights’ and the ‘basket bread chandelier’ provide a clever artistic feel in the main dining area. It’s a real family affair at Puntino with Antonio running the restaurant, Mama making pasta from scratch (except gnocchi which is made by the kitchen staff) while Papa grows fresh vegetables and herbs. Antonio is also sharing the family’s passion for fresh produce with his young children.
I’ve not yet been to Italy but at Puntino I certainly felt close. The wait staff have gorgeous thick Italian accents and wear red and white check aprons. At night, films showing off the beauty of Basilicata are projected onto the white wall in the courtyard. Bravo!
Surprisingly, half the menu is vegetarian and meat-based dishes can be amended on request. Hap-hap-happy dance! Alright, enough talking. Let’s get to the food. To start we shared a Vegetarian Mozzarella Degustazione starring grilled capsicum and mushroom and two mozzarellas – one creamy and one smoked. Having a little trouble deciding which pasta to order, it was best to let Antonio decide. Out came two platters with a taste of the following (from front left):
- Lagane e Ceci – long pasta with tomato and chickpea
- Lagane al Funghi del Bosco – mixed mushrooms, black truffle and truffle oil
- Gnocchi Sorrentino – potato gnocchi with buffalo mozzarella
- Ravioli di Mamma – ravioli with ricotta with a butter and sage sauce
- Ferrietti Con la Mollina – pasta with breadcrumbs and chilli
There was also talk of trying a pizza but there was no room in my belly! But wait.. there’s always room for dessert, right? I couldn’t go past Tony’s Zepps – fluffy ricotta donuts with cream and bitter chocolate sauce.
I really enjoyed the food at Puntino. One of the things I love about Italian cuisine is that sometimes the simplest dishes, containing minimal ingredients, can be the most memorable.
An Italian holiday has long been on my to-do list and dining in Puntino made me yearn for it even more. In June 2013, Antonio will host Cook Eat Drink, an 8 day culinary journey of Basilicata which includes traditional Italian cooking classes and home-stays. What a fabulous way to experience Italy – that’s exactly the kind of trip I want!
vegeTARAian and guest dined courtesy of Wasamedia.