I bought a dinner deal for new restaurant Raffinato Italian Restaurant in Pyrmont (the old Spanish tapas restaurant site next to Furisato on Harris St) a few months ago and kept planning to book in. Only when I realised it was about to expire I booked and they were kind enough to extend the deal for me.
Our deal entails a cocktail each on arrival and a choice of 2 courses for dinner for $59 (which we prepaid earlier but is to the value of $179).
On entry into the cocktail bar/lounge area I am impressed with how much they have changed the space since it’s previous owners. It’s lovely and cosy and a great local place to have a quiet drink after work.
We sit and order from the cocktail list. I have a French Martini and Jay has their take on an Old Fashioned called the Old Faithful made with fresh passionfruit (which surprisingly works and tastes amazing!)
Waiting seems to be the theme of the evening. We have to wait a while to be seated (although the restaurant isn’t full and our table is empty) but we finally get seated.
Jay and I both choose an entrée and a main.
Jay orders the Blue swimmer crab and mussel soup served with garlic croutons.
He enjoys the seafood but is disappointed by the broth which is obviously a beef stock. It’s served with two wedges of sourdough that is a little on the stale side and without a garlic flavour.
I order the lightly fried southern calamari, roast garlic, basil and lemon.
The calamari is fresh and delicious. But the dish is thrown off-balance by the bitterness of the rocket leaf it’s served on. The saving grace are slivers of preserved lemon, which are sheer joy.
We order a bottle of Italian red wine which is really lovely and full bodied. I don’t know anything about Italian wines, but I think it tastes similar to a Cabernet Sauvignon. It’s a 2008 Marchesi de Frescobaldi Toscana.
For mains, Jay wants the veal with mushrooms and provolone cheese, but alas they are out, so he orders the replacement which is a beef fillet with horseradish butter and served with roasted beetroot, eggplant and sweet potato mash.
He says the beef is a nice tender cut but the horseradish is a little overpowering. There is plenty of beetroot and extra eggplant, but the vegetables are all cold.
I am a huge fan of seafood pasta, so one look at the angel hair pasta with blue swimmer crab meat, cherry tomato, garlic, white wine and chilli and I’m all in.
The cardinal sin is committed and sitting on my plate. The angel hair pasta is so over-cooked that it turns into mush. A complete disappointment. The contrasting texture between the over-soft pasta and the tough tomato skins is just too much. How hard is it to get pasta al dente? Especially if you’re an Italian restaurant! I’m really upset.
The warmth of the wine flowing through me is making it seem less of a drama.
Not one to pass up an Affogato, Jay orders his served with Frangelico. It’s served with vanilla gelato instead of ice-cream. It’s good.
I’m not usually so tough with my restaurant reviews because it’s pretty hard to disappoint me. There was a total of $5 savings with the deal. What we spent upfront, the value of what we ate and the additional items we ordered, it’s definitely disappointing. I highly recommend against eating at Raffinato’s. There are just too many other great places to eat in Pyrmont where you get better service, quality and value. Still, if you’re tempted, try it for a drink before heading out somewhere else for dinner.
Ψ Rating: 2 out of 5 stars (purely for the cocktails, wine & Affogato)
Raffinato Italian Restaurant
46 Harris St, Pyrmont NSW 2009