Check Please!

Mornin everybody!

Hope ya’ll are doin mighty fine this Friday morning (I have no idea why I’ve suddenly gone Texan on you)! I’m feeling extra chirpy this morning and I am going to send out positive vibes to all of you, no matter where you are!
Today, I am going to do a review on a restaurant I visited recently. It is the Essenza Italian on Surry Hills.

Disclaimer: This is not a professional review but merely me sharing my experience at the restaurant, with some awesome readers. Also, I am not being paid by the restaurant to do so.

Hope that has helped put a lot of suspicious minds at ease. Now, moving on…
I happened to stumble upon Essenza’s Instagram account after they liked one of my pictures (obviously involving food!). I was just blown away by their pictures of yummy Risotto Marinara, Calamari Fritti, various meatball dishes and what not! Now those of you that know me well know that I have a weak spot for anything Italian, especially their food! So it was only obvious that I wanted to give Essenza Italian a try.

Wednesday night, my friend and I decided to catch up for dinner and I of course suggested we go to Essenza. Hardly a 15 minute walk from Broadway, the restaurant is comfortably nestled in the corner of Crown and Devonshire Street in Surry Hills. The restaurant isn’t very imposing architecture- wise, neither does it have a huge sign, which may cause a little difficulty in spotting it right away (especially at night). But once you find it, you will only be pleased to see that it in fact has a very cozy feel; both from the outside as well as the inside, as I found out later.

We were greeted to a very warm and romantic setting with dozen dimly lit candles all around. I did feel a little awkward being there with one of my closest-friends instead of a date, but then I realized I have way more fun with my friend anyway!

From the moment we were seated I was excited to go through their menu and see what they had to offer. However, when it finally arrived I must say I was quite disappointed. I couldn’t find many of the dishes that I saw on their Instagram page, on their menu. Maybe I was there at the wrong time? Or perhaps they have a different menu for larger groups where the other dishes are? In any case, I was quite bummed out.
They did however have some interesting items like Roast Lamb Rump with Caponata, Veal Involtini & Parmesan Polenta etc. After deliberating for what seemed like half an hour (we’re indecisive and talkative so, go figure) we finally decided to start off with some garlic bread for the table and then, I proceeded to opt for the Essenza Meatballs in Polenta (which is actually an antipasto :P) while my friend settled for the Spaghetti Marinara.

While we were waiting for our food to arrive, I noticed larger groups of people starting to come in and I was actually worried that it might get too noisy. Although the restaurant extends to an outdoor area at the back, the weather conditions were not exactly motivating enough for anyone to use it. I was however, pleasantly pleased that the atmosphere hadn’t changed despite the increase in customers. It seemed like everyone was respectful of the decorum of the restaurant as well as of other visitors. This gave my friend and me the opportunity to talk endlessly about completely random things, as we always do.
I wished I was sipping on some red wine while waiting but my throat wouldn’t have any of it, so I asked for some warm water instead. Now, one of the things that annoy me when I go to restaurants in Sydney is that most of them do not offer warm/hot water (which I will never understand!). However, not only did these guys offer to bring me hot water, but they brought it in a cute little tea-pot.
We were then served our garlic bread which came on a wooden serving board. The bread looked absolutely yummy; nice and crisp with a beautiful golden color. The downside to it was that we only got three slices of bread, which I thought was quite unfair considering that it tasted so good hahaha. They should probably consider increasing the portion to an even four!

Next we were served our main course (well in my case, antipasto). I was very content with my Essenza Meatballs in Polenta. I hadn’t tried the combination of meatballs and polenta before, but I loved it. The polenta was soft and had an almost buttery texture. The meatballs were cooked to the right amount and the sauce had a delectable tanginess to it. And for an antipasto, I must say it was quite filling.
My friend seemed pleased with her Spaghetti Marinara as well. I liked the fact that they sprinkled a generous amount of Parmesan and pepper on top while serving it. For those of you who are not cheese fans, do not worry, they ask you before-hand if you would like it or not. So you do have the option of skipping it.
I finished my meal with some hot peppermint tea (they do have quite a bit of options to select from, in the tea department). Although I would’ve loved nothing better than to indulge in some decadent Tiramisu or Panna Cotta, my throat like I said earlier, was being a stubborn jackass!
The tea helped a lot though. So for those of you out there with a scratchy throat, I recommend some hot peppermint tea.

At the cash register we were given bite-sized desserts (I forgot the name of it) which I thought was a pretty clever and innovative move of extending their customer-service till the exit. The price was not as fancy as the restaurant, which was definitely a plus sign.

All in all I was happy with my experience at Essenza Italian. The food is absolutely delicious; kudos to the chef! And the staff seemed nice and friendly. The atmosphere like I said is perfectly set for a romantic dinner. I’d definitely recommend this as a date place. However, if you’re single like me you can always rock up with your friends and have a good time. If you plan on going with a large group on a weekend, I would recommend booking in advance.
The only major drawback I found was the lack of choices on their menu, especially after you’ve looked at their Instagram account. Next time, I hope to clarify that with them.

Yes, there definitely is going to be a next time. And when that happens, I pray that my throat doesn’t act up so I can devour some yummy tiramisu!

I hope you guys enjoyed my little review of Essenza Italian. I give them a huge thumbs up and I recommend it to all of you that are looking for a new restaurant to head to.

With that thought, I bid you goodbye.
Have a Happy Friday! If you’re having a particularly tough day, just power through because the weekend is not far away!