Assaggio Ristorante on King William Road, Hyde Park will be closing its doors soon and they are inviting everyone take the last opportunity to dine at this wonderful establishment. The email came as a surprise to me for it was bittersweet. While part of me is sad to see such an acclaimed restaurant with fantastic food go, it was also heart warming to hear the owners want to retire while the rest are looking forward to taking a break and spending more time with their families. Last week we visited Assaggio to sample their new menu and also to say goodbye. The restaurant is elegant as always and service was excellent with friendly staff. I was confident every dish would be good so I asked the waitress for recommendations and went with all of them.
First up was their take on the classic Italian dish of Stuffed Zucchini Flowers. With a crispy and golden crumb on the outside, one bite would reveal a lovely creamy lemon ricotta filling carefully wrapped within the flower. Simply delicious. To top it off it was served on caponata (eggplant dish) with salsa verde. Simply delicious.
I have always loved crab pasta, everytime I see “Granchio” on the pasta menu there is a 99% chance I would order it so when the waitress named it as one of the recommendations it was fate. Tagliarini Con Granchio was a beautifully perfect dish. Pasta was cooked al dente while the sauce of crab meat, seafood bisque, chillies and heirloom cherry tomatoes was simply perfect. Great flavour with hints of dill. I loved having juicy bursts from the cherry tomatoes. Mr Foodie had the Pork Belly which was superb. Assaggio uses Murray Valley Pork Belly and for this dish they slow cook it in spiced duck fat then crisp the skin up to finish. It was one of the most tender pork bellies I have ever had. It held it’s shape nicely and as you tear into it the meat parts like butter even with a fork. The flavour is of course fantastic. To top it off the skin did indeed have a crispy finish. It was served on soft semolina with cavalo nero, jus and a pear capsicum relish. An outstanding dish.
Seeing as our meal was to such high standards there was no way we were going to pass up on dessert so the two recommendations were what we ordered. With no regrets if I might add. I had the Semifreddo with hazelnut praline which was quite a generous serving of dessert. The chocolate semifreddo was very smooth and rich. Decadence at its best. Then some hidden raspberry fudge flows out. That tangy berry flavour cuts through the richness to balance it out.
Mr Foodie had to go for something fancy and special. Sbriciolata di Mele wins on presentation with a big ball of spun sugar placed atop. It somehow reminded us a little of Christmas with the fragrant spiced apple and quince. It was served with a beautiful vanilla bean gelato, pickled crimson grape, toffee and amaretto crumble. That dessert is Christmas on a plate to us.
I was told the current summer menu is one they are incredibly happy with and proud to showcase. It’s one of the best menus they have done and everyone is looking forward to retirement or a break. The dining experience was fantastic and the food faultless. What a way to go out with a bang. They are still taking bookings up until Christmas and are looking to close early next year so don’t wait any longer.
Disclaimer: Foodie Ling was invited as a guest of Assaggio Ristorante
92-94 King William Road
08 8272 4748