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The only thing better than a set menu is a vegetarian set menu – I love having someone else choose what is best.

Ombretta came recommended by a friend who knew one of the owners from shared time in Venice. Pretty solid intel there, so we booked. The Tuesday night dinners seem the go – 4 course set menu for $55 (not unlike Berta’s Sagra dinners actually)*.

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It’s an adorable little restaurant, store front based on Glebe Point Road. I love this kind if space – cosy and warm.

For primi we has Torta Pascqualina – a ricotta, chard and egg tart. It was very simple but good, rustic & with lots of that earthy chard flavour.

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Then for secondi a pasta – trofie al pesto con fagiolini e patate. This was also gorgeously green, with al dente pasta, tender potato bites & crunchy green bean morsels.

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Then more green – faggotini di verza con polenta. Cabbage dumplings are one of my favourite Italian dishes, and the creamy chestnut spiked polenta was like a warm embrace.

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Dessert was cialda alle mandorle con mousse al cioccolata bianca – sandy almond cookies with white chocolate mousse & a tangy blood orange salsa. Nice winter appropriate ending.

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Service was super friendly & we even got to practice our Italian (grazie!). Would love to come back & try the rest of their menu soon – the food was so season appropriate that I imagine it would be good to revisit quarterly…

Ombretta on Urbanspoon
* Their FB page says no Tuesday night special menu for the month of September.

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The gorgeous Berta on Alberta Street in Sydney city has regular ‘Sagra dinners’ on Wednesday nights.

Wikipedia says that a sagra is a local festival, very often involving food (it is an Italian tradition after all). It goes on:

A sagra is often dedicated to some specific local food, and the name of the sagra includes that food; the array of gastronomic specialties covered across Italy is amazing: for example, we find a Festival delle Sagre astigiane, a Sagra della Rana (frog) at Casteldilago near Arrone, a Sagra della Cipolla (onion) at Cannara, a Sagra della Melanzana ripiena (stuffed eggplant) at Savona, a Sagra della Polenta at Perticara di Novafeltria, and so on. Among the most common sagre are those celebrating olive oil, wine, pasta and pastry of various kinds, chestnuts, and cheese.

BRB, adding those all to my to do list.

Anyway, the Berta Sagra dinners follow this formula, 4 courses for $55 all based around and featuring the theme ingredient. Four courses ends up normally being about 7 or 8 dishes, so it’s a bit Iron Chef <Ingredient>. The farmer who sells them the ingredient is often on hand to give you a little lecture about the produce too. There are also matching wines for an extra $30.

The most recent Sagra I went to was of my beloved brassica leaves – species including broccoli, cabbages and brussels sprouts and kale. All the most delicious things!

It’s super dark in there so had to pinch some of the pics from Berta’s facebook page.

crispy cavolo nero fennel salt – like the best kale crisps you ever had.

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coronet cabbage roll mushrooms chinese cabbage – this dish was the standout. Something so simple and yet just exploding with flavour (and butter), the silky cabbage with its slight char was magnificent.

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Side of brassica leaves to go with your brassica leaves? Yes. Too much is never enough.

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crispy polenta parmesan broth buratta quail egg kale – every single one of those words is a poem. Would eat this ten times over.

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minestra risoni horseradish red elk – this little soup with parmesan and textures of cooked kale and rawer red elk lettuce was lovely.

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spiced granny smiths fritole mascarpone gelato – classic red cabbage and spiced apple. This reminds me of the stewed red cabbage and apple I had in Belgium as a child. Something so perfect about the flavour combination, and love it as a dessert.

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Upcoming Sagra are on their website here.



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