Italian food is not like any other food; in fact we would go as far to say that it is special. It can express many facets of life; whether it is love on your first date, satisfaction after cooking your first spaghetti or in this case, joy and laughter when sharing a great meal with a great bunch of people. Italian food is a cuisine that is perfect for all occasions.That’s why we love hearing about new Italian restaurants, because unfortunately an authentic Italian restaurant is hard to find.
Andiamo Trattoria Del Popolo is located in Chippendale (near Central Park for those of you like us who have absolutely no idea where Chippendale is) and is not like any other Italian restaurant you will see. It is decked out with grungy-urban style fittings, mixed with rare and authentic posters collected over the years. There is even a mural that has been painted which really gives character to this neat restaurant. We loved every bit about the style and architecture, even the stone columns were specifically purchased and strategically placed for added effect. We were invited by Zomato to feast on a menu of what owners Joe and Val would describe as rustic Italian that has something for everyone.
Polpette (Nonna’s homemade meatballs)
When asked which item on the menu Joe would recommend, his response was the Spaghetti and meatballs, a traditional “nonna” recipe. They definitely lived up to the hype, surpassing it actually to be labelled our favourite meal of the night.. and we had just started! It was a general consensus at the table that these things were something special. “Wow” was the overused expression at the table. What made it so good is really hard to explain… it could be the fact that the meatballs were moist and had a great palette of flavours in the mixture, or it could also be the sauce which was fresh, with a touch of sweetness. Either way, this is a highly recommended dish that we encourage you to try!
Spinach and Ricotta Fritters & Arancini
This entrée had its ups and downs. For the Spinach and Ricotta Fritters, you could definitely taste the ricotta, but the spinach was lost in the mix meaning it was a little bland if tasted individually leaving the sauce however to be the deciding factor. The gorgonzola rosa sauce was everything I had hoped it to be. The taste was primarily from the gorgonzola but it had a nice tang to balance out the creamy texture. We love arancini and have been secretly craving them when we saw the menu in advance. They are such a great entrée that can be shared and enjoyed by anyone. Served with a nice portion of Napoletana sauce, the deep fried rice balls are stuffed with prosciutto and mozzarella, and coated with bread crumbs. The crisp texture of the deep fried bread crumps and the subtle saltiness from the mixture goes hand in hand. Yum!
When the moon hits your eye like a big pizza pie that’s a’more!
Whenever we think of authentic Italian pizza, that song comes to mind. Then it stays for quite a long time until we check ourselves into the psychiatric ward for insanity. The Salsiccia is topped with Italian sausage, bocconcini, fresh basil with an “Italian” drizzle of extra virgin olive oil. The pizza base is handmade and wood fired which is a melody to our ears and the base was impressive to say the least. The toppings however didn’t quite work for us. We love our cheese and there was a lack of cheese on this pizza (for design). It is still enjoyable to eat but it’s not our preferred pizza.
This pizza was a completely different story. The slow roasted pumpkin and caramelised onion provided a sweet base ingredient, while the intense flavour from the gorgonzola balanced the palette. The combination of sweet and salty ingredients, mixed with neutral ground flavours from the pine nuts, garlic and sage creates a taste that you won’t forget. We loved every bit of this pizza, needless to say but disappeared very quickly!
We love authentic style pasta with rich tomato flavours, al dente pasta and half a litre of olive oil (hah!). The spaghetti marinara is served in quite a decent portion size and consists of calamari, tiger prawns, octopus and mussels in a garlic and chilli Napoletana sauce. Thankfully there was very little taste of the mussels throughout the dish as I was afraid it may have overpowered the bold flavour of the sauce. The prawns were cooked nicely and still had a nice crunch but unfortunately the pasta was a little overcooked. A simple and tasty dish!
What is better than a creamy serving of gnocchi? Truffles!
Andiamo’s have mixed the two together by combining truffle sautéed mushrooms and gnocchi, combining it with a light cream sauce. Everyone at the table was anticipating this dish as our eyes lit up from the word “truffle”. Matt went HAM on this dish, it wasn’t overly creamy so it is relatively easy to finish the whole bowl alone. The flavour of the truffle however was very minor, where the main flavour throughout this dish was garlic. For what it’s worth, Matt polished it off quite fast and enjoyed every bit of it. Christie on the other hand was super excited for this dish however it did not meet her expectations.
Tuscan Slow Roasted Lamb with roast potatoes and Tuscan salad
We were lucky to be able to experience this dish as it apparently sells out quite fast. Joe advised that people actually pre-order this dish prior to dining at Andiamo’s! With all this hype, we knew we would be in for a treat. The lamb shoulder is marinated for 24 hours before being slow cooked to a succulent texture. The meat falls off the bone like it was stuck on with butter and you can scrap the knife as well, because you will definitely not need it. Despite the 24 hour marination, the flavour of the lamb was still quite evident. We aren’t sure whether this was intended, but generally the idea is to limit that taste as much as possible. Don’t mistake us, we did still find this dish pleasant, but in our eyes it didn’t meet the expectations we had set ourselves. Give it a try for yourself to make a conclusion… It is still considered their most popular dish!
Italian’s sure know how to finish a meal. The smooth coffee blend goes down perfect after a meal of oily food. The layers of coffee soaked lady fingers and custard and then topped with a shot of espresso with a side serving of vanilla ice cream. Perfection!
We loved it here at Andiamo Trattoria, so much so that we are planning a reunion party here! We were invited by Zomato on behalf of Andiamo’s Trattoria and all views expressed in this review are those of our own.