We were recently invited to Andiamo Trattoria Del Popolo, an Italian restaurant in Chippendale. Having been promised an ‘unforgettable Tuscan feast’, we came in with high expectations, especially given our love for Italian cuisine. What we actually received, in the form of generous and amazing food, a lovely ambience, and first-class service, more than met those expectations, and we had an amazing night!
Andiamo aims to create traditional Italian food in an authentic way, as the ‘nonna’ (grandmother) would make it. Andiamo has perfected this art. We were served a very generous set of more than ten dishes across five courses for the purposes of being able to taste a broad range of their menu. Although each of the dishes about to be described was delicious, our pick would have to be the lamb, which is an absolute must-order, it was simply that good!!
For the opening course, we were treated to a sample of four dishes, being: 1) Nonna’s Homemade Polpette (Italian meatballs); 2) Spinaci e Ricotta Fritters; 3) Cozza Bianco (Black local mussels); and 4) Sicilian Prosciutto & Mozzarella Arancini.
Each of these were incredible, which had two effects on our evening. The first was that we became very excited for the remainder of what we were about to eat as the bar had been set high. The second, and more practical effect, was that we simply ate way too much at this component of the adventure, which led to some challenges later in terms of stomach capacity!
The Polpette was rich and full of flavour, and was our personal favourite out of the antipasti dishes – it is simply delicious. The Spinach and Ricotta fritters were served with gorgonzola rosa sauce, which added a new level of flavour to the dish, whilst the mussels came with a white wine sauce which kept you wanting more. Finally, the Arancini was very rich, and if you enjoy cheese, this is the dish for you.
After being teased with some starters, the pizzas came out and here we were treated with a choice of three options. The first was the Pizza Alla Norma (double cooked eggplant, ricotta & fresh basil), the second was the Salsiccia (Italian sausage, bocconcini & fresh basil), and the third was Pumpkin Gorgonzola (slow roasted pumpkin bianco pizza with gorgonzola, pine nuts, garlic, caramelised onion & sage).
We enjoyed the eggplant pizza the most, particularly as it had a unique flavour that is not typically seen at other restaurants. Each of the artisan-style pizzas are stone baked in a wood-fire oven, which gives them a lovely, smoky texture, and the base was thin and crispy!
Of course, it would not be a traditional Italian banquet if pasta was not on the menu, and Andiamo had us covered perfectly with two lovely pasta dishes. The first was a Gnocchi Tartufi, containing truffled sautéed mushrooms with wine and a light cream sauce. We were looking forward to this dish ever since we saw it on the menu, and it did not disappoint. The highlight was the creaminess of the sauce, which worked wonders with the truffled mushrooms.
The second was a Spaghetti Marinari, containing calamari, tiger prawns, octopus, mussels, garlic and chilli in a Napoletana sauce. Being a large fan of seafood in pasta, this dish hit the spot perfectly. There was a generous quantity of seafood actually available in the pasta (so we did not have to go hunting for it!) and the chilli gave the dish a small kick, which was just what was required.
By this point we were already quite full, so we were unsure how much of the Tuscan Slow Roasted Shared Lamb we would be able to eat. Just one bite made us feel the intense regret of eating too much earlier; this was absolutely spectacular and comfortably the best lamb we have ever eaten in our entire lives.
To prepare it, Andiamo marinates the lamb and slow cooks it for 24 hours, which leads to an amazing tenderness that practically melts in your mouth. It is served with potatoes which nicely complemented the flavours and, although we couldn’t finish it on the night, we were able to take it home, leading to me being the envy of the office the next day when it came to lunch time!
For dessert, we were forced to activate our dessert stomachs to taste the Tiramisu di Casa, and we were so glad that we did. It was served with Italian espresso and panna cotta gelato, which tasted so fresh and was simply a lovely way to round out the evening!
Andiamo is truly an enchanting place – the mood lighting is suitable for everything from an intimate romantic dinner for two, up to a large birthday party style event. The service is personal, and we were regaled with numerous stories of food and culture from Italy and abroad. There is also limited seating available outdoors if that is preferred.
In case it is not clear from the above, we would recommend Andiamo without a second thought. It is simply an incredibly Italian restaurant, which is rather impressive considering the range of competition present in the Italian cuisine space. We will definitely be back, and bringing friends with us next time.
Note: The Khana dined as a guest of Andiamo and Zomato.