Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Verde Restaurant and Bar, Darlinghurst

Stanley Street is one of those areas of the Sydney CBD that I don't venture as much as I would like to but have heard a lot about. When you walk along that street and the surrounding area you will find countless old school Italian restaurants, whether it's cheap, expensive or focused on a particular region in Italian cuisine. Located nearby on Riley Street in an olden Victorian-era building is Verde Restaurant and Bar, which focuses on Southern Italian cuisine as inspired by owner and chef, Antonio Ruggerino childhood and family background. What differentiates Southern Italian cuisine from other regions of Italy was the use of olives, capsicums, tomatoes, eggplants in their food due to the warmer temperature to grow this food. 

When it opened 6 years ago, it began as a fine dining restaurant. Like most restaurants these days, it has moved towards home-style, casual dining with the atmosphere being much more social than I expected when I entered inside the venue. The service was friendly though there were moments when I had to get their attention. 

Some restaurants do bread and olive oil while others so free olives like Verde. I generally prefer black olives but on this occasion, the green olives doused with olive oil were quite addictive with its zesty taste and not too firm yet still fresh texture. 

Complimentary Green Olives with Olive Oil

Since looking at the menu for the first time, I've had my eyes set on the arancini balls with grape tomato salsa. Sounds like my ideal combo whenever I wanna have a bite out of these risotto balls. Size-wise, it was bigger than I expected. The rice wasn't too hard and not as soft either. The grape tomato salsa adds a nice tanginess to this dish. Didn't expect any cheese but there is a actually bit of stringy (mozzarella?) cheese found inside the arancini ball. Stringy cheese is my guilty pleasure dammit.

Arancini Balls with Grape Tomato Salsa ($6 for 2, $12 for 4)

Another dish that caught my eye was the spaghettini with blue swimmer crab dish. Yes it was pretty weird eating pasta after barely having it for many many months so it was nice to have a light type of pasta for now. The pasta was made in-house and had a lovely aldente texture with strong flavours from the white wine broth - particularly from the tomato and chilli. There was also decent amounts of picked crab which made up for the premium price of the meal even though the serving size was smaller than I expected. One thing that gets be annoyed at restaurants is when I want to eat everything - including the broth - off the plate but then I can't because there is no spoon. Thankfully at Verde, a spoon was available on the table and the broth was amazing so I was able to polish off every bit of my plate. Yay! 

Spaghettini Crab (Picked Blue Swimmer), Grape Tomato, Garlic, Chilli, White Wine ($32.00)

Sometimes, it's the dessert that determines the outcome of the restaurant. Personally, I reckon it's the journey that matters in the end especially if I'm too full for desserts. Since I wasn't too full from the first two meals then the dessert is essential this time. I love a good tiramisu especially after trying a few from Italy. Verde's version filled me up quite a bit with its fluffy layers, creamy marscapone and countless thin shavings of Perugino chocolate. It was creamier and a tad bigger compared to some other variants of tiramisu in the past but the chocolate shavings were the highlight for me. I could pour loads of them and still not get sick of it!

Traditional Tiramisu with Shaved Perugino Chocolate ($14.00)

While Verde may be located so close to countless old school Italian restaurants, what sets this apart was the modern interior decor and its casual, social yet not too noisy atmosphere. On the other hand the prices were on the expensive side even with the use of a discount voucher. I can imagine this restaurant would be ideal for a casual date, work dinner/lunch or a gathering of families and/or friends for a special occasion though there were a few friends dining nearby for a catchup. Wouldn't mind coming back again sometime soon to try some of the other dishes on the menu when I get the chance especially for their desserts.  

Disclaimer: The Random Foodie received a discount voucher courtesy of Platinum Media and Communications, and Verde Restaurant and Bar. Opinions are personal.

Verde Restaurant and Bar
115 Riley Street, Darlinghurst NSW 
(02) 9380 8877
Lunch: Monday - Friday 12pm to 3pm
Dinner: Monday - Saturday 6pm to late
Verde on Urbanspoon


  1. I love crab and I love pasta - sounds like a perfect combination!


  3. ohhhhmyyygoooooddddneesss!!
    look at that stringy goodness!! :D :D :D

    - Cassie