Stunning waterfront views over Middle Harbour? Check. Two hats for the contemporary Italian cuisine? Check. Romantic ambience and fantastic service? Check.
Ormeggio at the Spit is probably one of the most underrated hatted restaurants in Sydney, probably owing to its hidden location at the d’Albora Marinas next to the Spit Bridge. We almost missed the turn off to drive into the tiny parking lot next to the marinas and then felt quite out of place strolling through a boat showroom to get to the restaurant which is right on the water (ladies, avoid wearing stilettos, there’s some cracks between the wooden slats on the boardwalk).
We were celebrating a birthday tonight and were lucky to be seated at a waterfront table, where we could enjoy uninterrupted views across the water to the Seaforthmansions perched precariously on the cliffs. The restaurant itself is all polished wood, spotless white tablecloths and gleaming glass to make the most of the spectacular locale and the understated elegance will impress your date if you should choose to spoil them with a meal here.
I had booked us in for the 3 course Sunset Special for $59 per person which is available on Friday and Saturday nights and required us to vacate our table by 7.30pm. We arrived at 5.30pm to maximise our dinnertime and weren’t disappointed at all – although it was an early start, we were rewarded with a lovely sunset over the water as we enjoyed our meal.
We started off with a generously sized serving of warmed sourdough which was crusty on the exterior but fairly soft and fluffy on the inside. The freshly churned sour butter was smooth and creamy, melting into the warmed bread nicely and tasted even better after a sprinkle of sea salt.
Warmed sourdough with butter, $9
For our first course of the night, I had chosen the Ling Fish Baccala with polenta croutons and dutch cream potato. It didn’t look like much on first impressions but never be too quick to judge a dish on its presentation. It turned out to be a heavenly dish consisting of a thick, flavoursome cream (like a mash but much smoother) which has been infused with the flavour of the salted and dried ling fish. The polenta croutons provided some welcome texture to the dish and made it incredibly moreish.
Ling Fish Baccala
The boy had chosen the Biodynamic Veal Tonnato which was like a tartare with thinly sliced slivers of raw veal garnished with flower petals, capers, toasted pine nuts, puffs of a mayonnaise-like sauce. This dish was served quite artfully on the plate and even though I am not a fan of raw red meat, I couldn’t resist trying a bite of it. I was pleasantly surprised by the intense flavours which had soaked into the sliced veal and combined with the sauce, it was a winner of a dish, though I still preferred the comforting flavour and texture of the Ling Fish Baccala.
I was intrigued by the chewy texture of the slivers of Confit Bonito fish, which had been drizzled with an intensely flavoured charcoal tuna consomme and covered with a bed of green peas, sprigs of dill and pretty flowers. But it was the boy’s chosen second course that stole the show, the Charcoal Wagyu Beef cooked sous vide was absolutely sensational – melt in your mouth tenderness, elevated by a distinctive smokey charcoal flavour. The wagyu was complemented by an addictive spring onion puree and neat dollops of black garlic gel, and half a pickled heirloom carrot to add some colour to the plate.
Charcoal Wagyu Beef
Ormeggio at the Spit continued to impress with the desserts – I had opted for the deceptively simple sounding Strawberry, White Chocolate and Rose dessert. I was pleasantly surprised to find an intricate dessert featuring strawberries in all different forms ranging from whisper thin slices of dried strawberry, to a strawberry jam and of course fresh strawberries too mixed in with a delectable white chocolate ice cream. All this was sprinkled with a gorgeous rose scented powder and shards of meringue. Heaven on a plate.
Strawberry, white chocolate and rose
The flavours of the Macadamia and Lemon Myrtle dessert was much fresher and zestier, obviously due to the use of the native Australian lemon myrtle to scent the perfectly rounded scoop of sorbet. I quite liked contrast of the zingy flavour of the sorbet with the dense slab of rich macadamia semifreddo underneath it, but the Strawberry dessert was still the clear winner in the dessert stakes here.
Macadamia and lemon myrtle
All in all, Ormeggio at the Spit ticks all the boxes for a memorable special occasion dinner (though the experience is somewhat weather dependent), where you can savour the perfectly executed dishes in picturesque waterfront surroundings.