On the one year anniversary of the opening of Moretti’s new site in Leichhardt, we sat down to a traditional Italian feast, ready to be amazed by some authentic cuisine!
We wanted to try some lovely Italian wines to complement our meal, so based on our preferences, we were recommended a couple of wines, which we both enjoyed. I had the 2012 Marziano Abbona Tistin DOCG Arneis, from Piemonte in Italy. It was so sweet and light, which was exactly what I wanted. Mum preferred a slightly dry wine, so she had the 2014 Fattoria Mentellasi Lucumone DOC Vermentino, from Toscana in Italy. She also enjoyed her wine, and found that it complemented the dishes that we had very nicely.
We started off with some fresh bread, which was served with both butter and olive oil. I opted for the oil, and it went perfectly with the light, fluffy and freshly baked bread.
Our host for the day was happy to explain the dishes on the menu to us, and told us that some of the chefs have been cooking together for over 10 years in the old location, and some even longer! Their menu reflects the cuisines from both the North and South of Italy, and the daily specials incorporate these influences as well. He brought out a very generous selection of entreés for us to sample, and we were able to have a taste of many different flavours and dishes.
We started with the Parmigiana Di Melanzane, reminiscent of an eggplant lasagna, with cheese and napoletana sauce layered in between the pasta sheets and eggplant slices. It was absolutely delicious, and the rich tomato sauce was very nicely seasoned with herbs to give it a kick of flavour. The eggplant was tender and soft – a great vegetarian option on the menu!
We then moved on to try the Polpette In Sugo, which are meatballs slow cooked in tomato sauce. In comparison to most meatballs I’ve had, this version of the dish was very light, and not heavy and meaty at all, while still retaining the rich flavour of the sauce. Next, we had the Calamari Fritti, which were beautifully served in a brown paper tube. A drizzle of lemon and some zesty tartare sauce finished off the dish, and they were great bite sized pieces to snack on!
The most interesting and unique entreé was the trio of Suppli’ Alla Romana, a deep fried rice ball, the Fiori Di Zucca, a deep fried zucchini flower stuffed with mozzarella and anchovies, and the Polenta Chips, which were served with melted gorgonzola cheese. The rice balls were nicely fried, and after we added a dash of chilli oil, they had just the right amount of spice and flavour to them!
The zucchini flowers were a real highlight amongst the entrees, as we had never tried this dish before. The zucchini flower was very fresh and tender, and the lightly fried coating added crunch and texture to the portion. Finally, the polenta chips would definitely be a snack for cheese lovers, as they were a perfect accompaniment to the creamy and rich gorgonzola sauce.
We rounded out the entreés with a taste of the Pizza Bianca, a garlic, rosemary and olive oil based thin pizza crust that was very crispy and well seasoned, and a great accompaniment to the rich, tomato based entreés.
We decided to go with two of the specials and one menu item for the mains. First up was the Vitello Alla Pizzaiola, which was a very tender veal backstrap cooked with napoletana sauce, black olives and oregano. The meat was perfectly cooked and well marinaded, but this dish would’ve been even better with an extra punch of flavour or spice.
We then had the Pizza Integrale Ortolana, which was a wholemeal pizza base with mozzarella, marinated eggplant and zucchini, caprino cheese and sun dried tomato. The base was so thin and crispy, and what we loved about this dish was the mildness of the cheese, which wasn’t oily or too rich as some pizzas can be. The tender eggplant and zucchini was flavoured by the salty sundried tomato, which was a great inclusion on the pizza. Another great vegetarian option!
Finally, we had the Ravioli Sorentina, which was a spinach and ricotta ravioli served in a rich napoletana sauce. The spinach flavour really shone through, and we learnt that the pasta is handmade by an old friend of the chefs’, who comes in every so often to make these delicious ravioli, the gnocchi and the fettuccine for the restaurant. It was truly an amazing dish, and we really enjoyed it!
To finish off the meal, even though we were bursting with fullness, we left a tiny bit of room for coffee and dessert. The Flat White that Mum ordered was beautifully presented, with a small portion of biscotti to go along with it, which was a great touch.
We also shared a Coconut Mousse with Pineapple Relish, which was served with a red fruit coulis, soft coconut cookie crumble and caramelised pineapple. The presentation of this dessert was stunning, with the pineapple leaves used as a garnish to showcase the beautiful colours of the mousse. It tasted as good as it looked, with a light mousse and a rich coulis that made for a very refreshing dessert – a great end to a very rich meal!
Just a short walk away from Norton Plaza, Moretti’s is located on the main strip of Norton Street. The restaurant was very spacious inside, with plenty of seating overlooking the street, and even a raised area for groups to dine as well. The menu is very diverse, with vegetarian options and tastes to cater to many different preferences. We sampled a few of the specials, and they were very impressive, so be sure to order those as well!
The portion sizes are also very generous, so it’s a great cuisine to share amongst a group or between a couple of people. The staff were all so friendly and happy to share their insights about the menu, giving us a true example of Italian and European hospitality. Keep in mind that they do get fairly busy during lunchtime, so make a booking in advance, or go early to secure a table.
Moretti’s is truly a gem amongst the many restaurants on Norton Street. We had an incredible dining experience and were lucky enough to sample a wide range of authentic dishes, which showed us just how diverse their menu is. The Ravioli Sorentina is a must try, and their desserts are all to die for as well, so head on over and give them a try, and let us know what you think!
Note: Khana dined as a guest of CPM Online Marketing and Moretti’s. Thanks so much to Claire for organising the visit!