Friday, 17 August 2012

Dinner @ The Larder - at Otto

Otto to me, has always been that really expensive place you only get taken to on your very super special occasions - 18ths, 21st, 50ths and etc. So when I heard they were doing a 'pop up' cheaper shindig for three months throughout winter I knew it was the only time I was going to be able to try this food till I turned 50 or got engaged.

Otto is run by head chef, Richard Ptacnik who has worked in globally in places such as Prague, Germany and Switzerland, having moved to Australia and becoming head chef in 2009. The food is an exploration of modern Italian cuisine and the Larder is BYO which is super exciting ('Otto' is not BYO)

For this occasion, my best friend A and boyfriend K joined me. On arrival, just before 7 there seemed to be far too many empty tables, however it meant we were seated promptly.  The friendly waitress explained it was a menu design to be like Tapas, where plates were shared among the table.

Worried that K wouldn't find anything he would like or left hungry, I had showed him the menu a few days before and we had decided he would get the Scotch fillet with herb butter ($25) and a side of mash ($9) and A and I would share. We settled on the salmon ceviche with eschalot, capers and parsley ($16), steamed Spring Bay mussels with chilli, garlic & tomato ($16) and humpty doo barramundi with white beans & smoked ham hock ($26).

First to arrive was the salmon - flavours were fresh and came alive in your mouth. A dish that looked so simple explodes with taste. The one thing I dislike about tapas is that there is never enough of the dish to enjoy it more!! Next, our mussels came out in a huge pot - value for money with this meal! Once again, delicious and fresh and the broth itself was so tasty that once the mussels were finished were continued to spoon out the broth. It was also served with a piece of bread which was warm and crisp - but annoying this was it was only a piece?

K's scotch fillet arrived and unfortunately, it was gone before I could ask for a taste. He said it was delicious, but not cooked to his liking. It was served rather rare and a lot of it was fat. He liked it, but said he had better. He also thought his mash was too rich - A and I disagreed and were more than happy to finish it off! (K is hard to impress!!).

Next, our barramundi arrived. For what we paid, it was a decent sized piece of fish - I honestly would have considered it enough to be a main meal. It laid on a bed of white beans and ham which A described as tasting like 'bacon and eggs' :). Once our plates were cleared we considered ordering the rack of lamb as our neighbors next door had just devoured it but we wanted to save room for ice-cream.

There were deserts on the menu, as we looked around the egg and soldiers (egg nog with short bread $12) looked super cute, served in an egg carton, but we were set on gelato elsewhere.

By the time we left the place was packed with people!! A and I have decided we would come back next time with wine and possibly one other person who shared the same tastes as the other dishes looked exquisite. K also enjoyed his meal and even ventured out and tried a mussel for the first time! Overall, I would say the experience was a 8/10 for me.

I only took one photo of the food, left my camera at home!

The Larder
Otto Ristorante
Area 8, 6 Cowper Whard Road
Wooloomooloo 2011
Monday - Friday evenings 6 – 10pm.

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