restaurant review | Raffinato, Pyrmont

Jay keeps me on a strict monthly entertainment budget, so to get the most out of it, I buy deals though Ourdeal or Cudo or LivingSocial.

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.

cosy cocktail lounge

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!)

Passionfruit Ole Fashioned & French Martini

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.

table setting

Jay and I both choose an entrée and a main. 

Jay orders the Blue swimmer crab and mussel soup served with garlic croutons

zuppa di granseola e cozze servita con crostini di pane allaglio

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

calamari saltati, sapore di aglio, basilico, e limone candito

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

beef fillet with horseradish butter

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.

capelli dangelo alla granseola, pomodorini pachino, aglio, olio e peperoncino fresco

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. 

affogato al liquore

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 

four books

day 7 of the 10 day reveal

these aren’t my favourite books; just those that are currently on my mind…

  1. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. Great finale to the epic series by J.K.Rowling. I bought my copy at Orly airport in France and patiently held onto it while I was on holidays waiting for the plane trip home! I ended up spending 2 days reading it by the pool in Singapore. I could barely tear myself away. It was awesome. Now I am reading it again in readiness for the film’s 2nd part ending coming out next month! 
  2. The Help by Kathryn Stockett. Oprah recommended this book via Oprah’s Book Club and its really good. I’m currently about a quarter of the way through. Set in a 1960’s Mississippi small town it tells of three women’s unlikely bond and how their friendship tests the town’s unspoken rules and behavior.  I just discovered it’s going to be released as a movie in August (starring Emma Stone, Viola Davis, Octavia Spencer & Bryce Dallas Howard)! 
  3. The Ice Princess by Camilla Läckberg. I recently finished this book and enjoyed it immensely. I’ve only really gotten into crime fiction in the past 6 months and Läckberg is a Swedish author with a similar writing style as Stieg Larsson (or it may come across that way in English as Läckberg shares the same literary translator and geographically they refer to alot of the same towns). I can’t wait to read the next one in the series, called The Preacher
  4. Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett. Mandy lent me this book about a month ago and it’s burning a hole in my bookcase waiting to be read! I purposely avoided the TV mini series of the same name which was on recently (that has a kickarse cast!) as Mandy strongly suggested I read it first (she also has the DVD so I can borrow that next)! I love English historical fiction. This looks epic!