La Rosa: Follow me into the Dark

Treading out of the fashionably old school elevators in the historic The Strand Arcade, we were puzzled to be fronted by Pendolino. Upon enquiry with the maitre d', we were patiently pointed in the opposite direction of the corridor. I suppose the waitstaff get that question all the time, their hand gestures coming second nature.

Chef Nico Zoccali, responsible for Pendolino has chosen to extend his empire with La Rosa, a more casual Italian pizzeria and bistro just on the opposite end of the building.

It's a somber set up. A more lighthearted long table setup in the front breaking into a dark moody space as you walk through to the main dining area. Candles and mini table lamps flicker on the tables and I squint to read the menu in the dimness. A truly condensed menu , selection wasn't too much of a challenge.

My companion had the Costate Di Maiale ($31.50), a 10 hour slow cooked pork short ribs sided with steamed broad beans resting on a footstool of smooth dry broad bean puree. Pardon me for the poor images; but having to wrestle with focusing issues in the low light had me exasperated. For me, the ribs could have used a little more seasoning, it was as though the slow cooking process had failed at delivering optimal flavor into the depths of the cut. 

My Bistecchina ($35) featured a 200g grilled pasture fed sirloin minute steak with sauteed porcini mushrooms, rocket, onion and romano salad. For me, the real strength of the dish is in the perfectly dressed salad, the thinly shaved pecorino romano contributed a salty breathe to the tangy toss up of greens. The minute steak was expertly grilled, the bitterness of the char grilled marks, amazing when savored with the mind blowing chili oil provided at the side of the table. Holy grail of sauces most apt for the Asian palate.

That being said, La Rosa had an ambiance that was too stiff for my liking. Yes I do understand the relation to the whole cathedral referencing. But come on, drinking behind closed doors in a church? Now that's sinful, and frankly, way too pricey for such an experience.

La Rosa Bar and Pizza
Shop 133,
Level 2 The Strand Arcade
194 Pitt Street, Sydney NSW 2000
T: 02 9223 1674


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Meet Sihan

Snap Eat Love is Lee Sihan. 27 going on 28, she is a dessert enthusiast, food nomad, wanderer of lands and a pastry chef currently working in Sydney. Fueled by a lifelong addiction to all things sweet, and a burning desire to travel the globe follow her as she embarks on delicious escapades both in and out of the kitchen

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