The season of overeating begins! First up is our dinner tonight with the boys at Criniti’s Italian Darling Harbour before we break for the holidays — just in time before it becomes impossible to book a table anywhere!
I had a peek at the online menu beforehand and I’m glad I did, because it’s epic and would have taken me forever to go through and make a decision on the spot. I thought the paper menu would come in a million pages, but it didn’t; it was just very tall.
Full gallery of our dinner at Criniti’s, Darling Harbour:
It’s an early Wednesday night and at that hour, the place was still fairly quiet in terms of business, but also the absolute opposite because the restaurant decided to blast music at full volume. It baffled us. Do people order more food in loud noises, even though the waitstaff could barely hear their orders? Was it so that diners couldn’t chat with one another, so they would finish their food duly and not overstay? What purpose does the loud music serve?
I could barely hear myself think, but we eventually did make up our mind. We took the advice of our very helpful waitress (once we could make out what she was saying over the music) and ordered the antipasto sampler (bigger servings than individual starters), a few other starters not covered in the sampler, a bottle of merlot for the table, and I went for the lasagne ($23.9 +6.9 to main size). Oh yes.
The woodfired buffalo mozzarella and halloumi plate was a common starter choice among us, and it didn’t disappoint. Well, there was a chilli logo next to the menu item and my seasoned tongue detected zero of it, but I’ve learnt to not expect any heat from Italian dishes. We all enjoyed the rest of the entrees as well, with the exception of the bread and zucchini flowers that came in the antipasto sampler — the boys who tried the bread said it was quite possibly the toughest and worst bread ever; I thought the mascarpone-filled zucchini flowers were very bland.
The main dishes came a while after we finished our entrees.
I’ve had many negative experiences with lasagne from Italian restaurants (I still keep ordering the dish, yes). This veal lasagne didn’t look much, but I loved the thick, rich ragu.
When Yuzhong’s pizza arrived, I looked over with envy and kicked myself for not ordering this myself — until
I stole he let me try a slice. The pizza base was soggy and wasn’t as good as its appearance; I much preferred my lasagne. I also tried Richard’s Rigatoni Reggini ($25.9 +6.9 main), one of those pasta dishes with a chilli icon. Richard found one slice of chilli in it. Yep. Italian food and chilli.
Dessert! I got the cinnamon-y baked ricotta cheesecake ($13), which was deliciously light but creamy — exactly what I was after tonight! Richard’s zeppole (Italian doughnuts) ($13) with hazelnut sauce looked quite deadly.
Overall, I rather enjoyed the night. Advice for new diners, though? Read the menu beforehand and unless you enjoy being blasted with loud music, perhaps ask to sit outside!
See you for more overeating next year, boys!