King William Road has always had a name for fashion. To me it has a name for food with a few of my favourites lined up along this very road. Adding to that now is Farina 00 Pasta and Wine Bar. With pasta made fresh daily I felt like nothing could go wrong. By the windows you will find trays of pasta on display just to work up your appetite. Decor is simplistic and classy with a more dimly lit romantic area at the back facing what looks like a dream kitchen. I’ve sat in both. My first visit was on our anniversary this year as a paying customer while the second was an invitation from Farina to sample other dishes they have to offer. Let’s talk about the second visit first where I put my dinner fate in the hands of the chef.
It’s tough competition being in the vicinity of three other great Italian restaurants (Assaggio, Antica and Parisi’s) so I was really looking forward to finding out how these guys stack up. The menu has all the classics you would expect of an Italian restaurant but taken to the next level with quality ingredients and refined flavours. It’s also different from the other three restaurants I just mentioned so I believe they have planned this well. We started the night with one of my favourite things to eat – Arancini. Not only was it golden and crispy, it was sitting in creamy mushroom sauce! There was a nice crunch as we cut the Arancini in half and inside, the rice was just perfect and cheesy.
Our next entrée was on the specials menu and it piqued my interest. The chef is reading my mind I thought. A hot dish of Eggplant Involtini arrived at my table smelling ever so good. It had three things I love – Eggplant, Provolone Cheese and Cured Meat. Jackpot. They were incredibly delicious morsels of Italy in a bite. That Napolitana sauce was also delicious, I could taste some meat stock flavours in it which made it even richer. Loved it.
Next was the moment to showcase their freshly made pasta in the form of Pappardelle with slow cooked pork neck. The servings of meat were generous in this dish. Quite often you get the pasta and little shreds of meat but at Farina, it’s like your grandma plated it for you. Delicious chunks of tender pork in abundance. The pasta however is indeed the real star. Beautiful, silky and simply perfect in texture.
As a main the chef chose something from the specials board for us. Confit Duck Leg. As if duck wasn’t attractive enough to me, it was served on a bed of truffled mash. Mash potato is hands down my favourite way to eat potatoes. Yes, over chips. Seeing as it was confit the duck leg was clearly tender, it was easy to tear off with just my fork. The truffled mash was creamy and smooth so I may have had most of it…….I swear I’m usually good at sharing.
It was the sweet end of the meal and out came this Cannoli filled with ricotta and chocolate chips. The chocolate chips are like surprises, even though she told me it was in there I still wasn’t expecting it. Then I bite into one and it’s like “Oooo choc chip”.
Rolling back the time just a little bit, it was our anniversary dinner. We had known of Farina for some time and wanted to try it so why not on our anniversary! It was a Friday night and the restaurant was full, we actually got there about 8pm. Service was warm and friendly all throughout the night so it was a good experience.
I don’t normally eat much olives, the only ones I like are the green Sicillian olives. However, a Mixed Olives platter sounds like a pretty good start especially when some of them are stuffed with chicken, crumbed and fried. It was a lovely way to start and we loved the stuffed olives. Also on the board were Sicilian olives with chilli & orange and Kalamata Olives.
We were debating whether to have Gnocchi as an entree or dessert but we thought pasta was a definite must so it ended up being an entree order. My goodness was it amazing. It was one of the best gnocchis I’ve had, such soft pillows in a very delicious creamy sauce with shaved 24 month aged parmigiano reggiano. You can definitely taste sharp parmigiano in that. If you love creamy and cheesy I highly recommend this. Moving from creamy to fried, the Calamari was another dish to rave on about. Tender calamari deep fried till crispy tossed with seasoning, crispy garlic, salt and pepper, chilli and parsley then served with spicy mayo and a wedge of lemon. It came out still piping hot and it was so crispy we loved it. The seasoning was bang on.
On our first visit we chose the Reginette di Agnello off the menu. The sound of slow braised lamb shoulder in a homemade tomato sauce seems to depict what Italian cuisine is all about – tomatoes, meat and pasta with parmigiano reggiano. I love it when they use that instead of lower grade parmesan, the flavour is miles apart. Pasta was perfect, al dente and delicious while the lamb could almost melt away in your mouth. The weather was still a bit colder then and this was a great warmer.
I come out both times rather impressed and most of all, happy. We couldn’t fault the service and the meals were great. Chef Lewis Marro has built a menu that sets it apart from the other Italian restaurants on the strip. I’ve clearly gone twice already and there’s no doubt I will return time and again. Farina will also be open on Christmas Day with a special 3 course menu including fresh seafood, a main and dessert of choice. For those of you who want to enjoy good food without the hassle of cooking and cleaning your own kitchen I suggest you make a booking and spend the time enjoying each other’s company instead of slaving over the hot stove.
Farina 00 Pasta & Wine
128 King William Road
08 8271 1109