Friday, September 18, 2009

Bang Bang...

OK, I am the first to admit that I am not the most demure and shy person around the traps however, I wasn't brought up by a pack of wild wolves and therefore know how to behave when in a dining establishment. Yes, we have all experienced a time where we've had a few too many bubbles and started to laugh hysterically at nothing in particular but that usually happens on a weekend, with a crowd of equally drunk, loud and hysterical friends and in a venue where the general level of noise is an equaliser for the decibels exuding from your corner of the universe.

Try telling that to Miss Squawk-a-Lot and her band of very merry men and a camper than Christmas, David Brent doppelganger. Clearly a bunch of social misfits that individually would have no friends on Facebook therefore decided to band together, a la Revenge of the Nerds and rise against the cool kids by being uber loud and talking over each other with gusto.

I have enjoyed the ambience of Il Baretto a number of times and whilst it can get noisy from chatter, it usually is a din of conversation that is audible but not pronounced.

I took Junior to Il Baretto for the first time last night as I knew he would love the Duck Ragu Papardelle and enjoy a nice romantic dinner out on a Thursday.

When we arrived, we were greeted by the friendly staff and seated straight away, on a lovely table near the back of the restaurant. Normally I enjoy a nice red with my Italian but the unseasonally balmy 25+ degrees and my selfish decision to have the Spaghetti alla Vongole led me to bring a Zilzie Rose 2006 along for the ride.

Everything was going along swimmingly until Miss Squawk-a-Lot and pals turned up, with their glass shattering guffaws. When the first thing they did was ask for a bottle opener for their Coronas by shouting at the waiter, in case he was hearing impaired, I gave Junior that knowing look of "Holy crap. If these bogans keep it up, I am going to stab the nearest one with my fork- after I finish my delicious meal for fear of ruining the experience (interestingly it would've been Campy David Brent)." He responded with an oft seen "Holy crap. Must eat quickly and leave before there is violence."

Anyway, Junior and I did our darndest to enjoy our dinner which was accompanied by a lovely rocket & parmesan salad, with fresh, peppery rocket leaves; crumbly, salty parmesan and dotted with slivers of sun-dried tomatoes. The rocket and dressing were divine but to be honest 2 shavings of parmesan is not enough for a $9.50 salad.

My Spaghetti alla Vongole has all the right flavours going on, onion, garlic and chilli coating the al dente pasta perfectly but the vongole were a little on the small side (I know they're supposed to be small but the size of a Tic Tac probably is a little too small) and to be honest, I did experience moments of grit. Overall the flavours were enjoyable so it wasn't a complete loss.

Junior's Duck Ragu on the other hand was rich and flavoursome, perfectly paired with the ribbons of papardelle. I am glad he chose that dish as his introduction to Il Baretto.

I would still recommend Il Baretto for the masses despite an overall disappointing experience as I have been there previously and really enjoyed myself. As for the menu, I would suggest sticking with the staple menu (with the exception of the Duck Ragu) to ensure the likelihood of a more consistent dining experience.

And as for Squawky and Friends, forget Il Baretto, just pass me a Beretta...

Il Baretto
496 Bourke Street
Surry Hills NSW 2010
(02) 9361 6163


  1. Hi Simply Life- if you do live nearby you definitely should try it out. Apart from that table of shouters, it really was a lovely meal. Thanks for your comment!


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