Bite-sized Summary: Elegant, contemporary and undeniably delicious; Allegra Dining showcases a stunning, gentle fusion of Italian and Australian cuisine. The seasonal menu offers ingredients and flavours true to Italian roots, reinvented with a distinct modernity and occasionally a hint of something unexpected.
Nestled within a mixed-use development in the heart of Danks Street, Waterloo; Allegra Dining perfectly embodies the urban/industrial feel of the suburb. Polished concrete floors, Italian marble benchtops, and glossy white furniture contrasts with deep timber and black metal accents, which all work together to create a sleek, minimalist interior.
Burrata with grilled asparagus
Tonight, we were greeted by Diego, a genuinely friendly and helpful waiter who was happy to explain the menu, which transitions from starters to entrees, mains and sides. To start, we ordered the burrata with grilled asparagus, pesto calabrese, prosciutto and croutons ($18); a wonderfully balanced and delicate dish, which came out faster than our cocktails! We loved the smooth and creamy burrata together with the pesto calabrese and bright, earthy asparagus.
Up next, an unexpected yet effortless pan-Asian/Italian fusion featuring beautiful, lightly grilled scallops with a caramelised miso garlic chilli butter ($22). I thought that the inclusion of these ingredients had the potential to overpower the delicate flavour of the meat, however, the end result was a clean, light and delicious accompaniment to each bite of pillowy-soft scallop flesh. It’s too bad scallops are so small because I could have eaten 100 of these!
For our first main, we chose Allegra’s saffron fusilli with slow cooked lamb ragu and parsley ($27), featuring perfect morsels of corkscrew-shaped pasta made fresh in-house. The ragu was incredibly soft and tender in a gorgeously balanced sauce, which I thought to be much lighter than a traditional lamb ragu pappardelle, yet still providing a burst of rich flavour with the added brightness of the parsley.
Grilled wagyu with herbed butter ($33)
Although it’s hard to perceive from the photo, our wagyu was teetering on medium-well done, which was a bit of a deal-breaker for my dining partner. Don’t get me wrong, I love my steak medium-rare too but the flavours of this dish were so amazing to me that I almost didn’t mind! Served with a herbed butter and the most luxurious, silky smooth paris mash, this was truly a stand out dish for me. I can only imagine how perfect it would be if the wagyu was cooked to medium-rare!
To finish, we ordered the vanilla bean pannacotta with berry coulis ($16). A smooth and creamy dessert, which was rich in fresh vanilla flavour and paired wonderfully with the sweet coulis and tart bursts of whole blackberries. Served in a glass, this pannacotta had more of a dense texture than the classic, light and wobbly consistency that I expected. Nevertheless, it was not too heavy and a wonderful way to finish a beautiful meal.
Unfortunately, I forgot to snap a picture of the cocktail menu, which also isn’t available on their website, so please excuse the lack of detail regarding ingredients as my memory is a little fuzzy! First up was the vodka-based passionfruit pornstar cocktail. Those who enjoy sweet cocktails will love this one! It had a delightful passionfruit flavour, however, I would have preferred some more acidity from citrus or fresh passionfruit to balance it out how sugary and sweet it was.
Next, I opted for a classic Aperol Spritz; a fresh and summery blend of Aperol, prosecco, and soda. This one was made perfectly, with the right amount of bubbles and a distinct orange flavour featuring a gentle bitterness from the Aperol.
My partner opted for (several!) of the yuzu daiquiri, a light rum-based cocktail. Again, it was quite surprising to see a Japanese citrus fruit on the menu of an Italian restaurant, however, we loved the modern spin on an otherwise classic drink, which imparted a fresh, sour and sweet flavour and aroma.
From memory, all cocktails were around the $16 mark, with spritzes around $12 – $14 (someone please let me know if I’m wrong!) Although not the best cocktails I’ve had, they came at a moderate price point for cocktails in Sydney, which is always appreciated.
We were blown away by the quality of food at Allegra Dining, which has really reinvented and modernised otherwise classic Italian dishes and ingredients. With a stunning menu, which varies based on the local, seasonal produce available, I can’t wait to re-visit and try some more of their creations! Cocktails were reasonably priced, however, not outstanding compared to the food.
From entree all the way through to dessert, to the perfectly timed and friendly service, Allegra Dining has cemented itself as one of the best restaurants I’ve tried for the first time in a while and I’d absolutely recommend checking it out for yourself!
This post is based on an independently paid visit to Allegra Dining.
8/18 Danks St, Waterloo NSW 2017
(02) 9698 1699