I remember being pleasantly surprised by the tasty and reasonably priced Italian fare that I had at Janus about a year ago, as it’s a pretty hard combo to nail in the Sydney CBD. This year, Janus at Darling Quarter has been rebranded into Vesta, but luckily apart from the new name and menu they have kept their winning formula of delicious Italian dishes at decent prices.
Vesta still has most of their seating outdoors and this time around we were able to enjoy a balmy night sitting outside – in stark comparison to my last visit during winter. It was a lovely setting to start off with some $10 cocktails off their Italian Aperitivo menu, which is served from 3-7pm on Thursdays – Saturdays. I got the gorgeous Vesta Sgroppino which came with a good amount of froth on top of a sweet concoction featuring Tanqueray gin, limoncello, sorbet of the day and prosecco. DK opted for the Sbagliato de Casa, which is also Tanqueray gin based but is a stronger blend of sweet vermouth, peach bitters and a splash of prosecco.
Vesta Sgroppino and Sbagliato de Casa, $10 each
The cocktails were a great accompaniment to our seafood entrees. First up, we had the perfectly Seared Scallops with an artful smear of cauliflower puree on the side. There was also a mound of interesting lemon crumble which added an element of texture to the succulent scallops, and the little puffs of squid ink cream on the side worked well too as they gave the whole dish a hit of extra savoury flavour.
Seared Scallops, $16
The Prawn Caponata was also recommended to us and it didn’t disappoint – the addictive eggplant based salad complemented the sauteed prawns wonderfully.
Prawn Caponata, $16
Our appetites were primed for the mains after the great starters and Vesta upped the flavour stakes with their unconventional Pork Belly pizza, which also featured apple sauce, potato and mozzarella. It tasted a lot like a smoky apple pie, turned more gourmet by the pieces of diced pork belly. Not really what I expected for a main as I prefer more conventional savoury flavours, but DK really enjoyed it!
Pork Belly Pizza, $23
I loved the other main we got which was the Gnocchi al Ragu di Agnello a.k.a gnocchi with slow cooked lamb shoulder ragu, peas and shaved aged parmesan. The gnocchi were little pillows of heaven which soaked up the hearty ragu and the chunks of soft lamb meat.
Gnocchi al Ragu di Agnello, $23
We were very full by this stage, but we couldn’t resist trying their Homemade Cannoli for dessert and it hit the spot, with a generous amount of ricotta and chocolate chip innards spilling out of the crunchy cannoli.
Homemade Cannoli, $6
We were impressed by our return visit to Vesta – and relieved that the calibre of food and service hasn’t changed despite the rebranding! As we had expected, it’s the perfect spot for summer meals thanks to its mainly outdoor seating area and its fun Aperitivo menu kicking off in the afternoons before dinnertime.
Excuse Me Waiter dined as guests of Vesta
15/1-25 Harbour St , Sydney, NSW
Ph: (02) 9267 9644