Before I begin, just a big thank you to everyone who helped me with my facebook questions and who linked me to their pages – If you saw someone random named Urvashi ‘like’ you, thats me :D and I want to like everyone so keep on linking :)
I will post up my page link as soon as I get some time to make it ;)
And also I was joking when I said I had lunch with Mark Z., I promise you all I hae never even seen this guy :D
Now on to the post – Enjoy!
No-Sit Coffee Shops.
“Why are all the towers leaning daddy?”
Al Pacino casually walking by with Marlon Brando with their godkids…
Yep, CCU definitely knew she was in Italy. Big, bustling mammas shopping for fresh ingredients, gossiping while their mafia husbands talked casually, wearing big gold chains and designer suits.
She walked along, the Colosseum blocking the heat of sun from her face when in the distance she saw it… she went inside… and she never wanted to come out again…
Ok, alright, maybe I am stereotyping Italy a little *a lot* but I felt like I was actually in one of those dens in Italy! Although, this was one big den!
Criniti’s, Sydney’s fastest growing, most popular Italian restaurant is not. small. Seating outside, inside, upstairs, 2 kitchens – you get the gist no?
I wish I could have taken photos of it all but I am telling you, standing still, you will get stepped on, run over or bowled over more like it. Waiters running left, right and centre, efficiently but they are just so busy :)
Note: All photos have been brightened because of the lighting for your viewing pleasure :)
We are taken inside and upstairs, passing the bar area, dim warming lights and soft catchy music playing make the atmosphere. We are seated at a wooden table, the lamp glows just enough to eat by (as you shall see in the photos :P). We are given a waitress to specifically serve our table, so no chance of any mix-ups and greater efficiency. I’m sure these guys have to do easily 3-4 tables each. How many waiters are possible?
Anyway, we look at the menu, which is exhausting, there is so much choice. It is written with the traditional Italian name and a translation, with good description so you know exactly what you are getting :)
First up, we order drinks. My dad, he goes for his classic, Jack Daniels and Coke.
My brother too, goes for his classic – no, not the chocolate milkshake :P, a Lemon-Lime Bitters! I try some and it is sweeter than most with less bitter so I like it but my brother prefers it slightly zingier.
My poor mummy has a bad throat so she doesn’t get a drink until later so to taunt her (joking, joking!), I get one a beautiful mocktail. A Manberry – hahahahahaha I love that name, it is so funny! Sorry, sorry, :D, it is refreshing, the crushed ice is properly flavoured as well so that I do not suck the flavour out leaving the ice! The fruity flavours of mango and berries are heavenly and the glass is so cute!
Next up, we order entrees. We keep it simple, my brother and daddy saving their meaty appetites (a pun ;)) for the mains. First up, we order the classic real Italian garlic bread a.k.a garlic crust :)
Very soft and deliciously flavoured garlicky crust bread, almost like Italian naans and it comes with some dips which is a plus and something I have never seen before. We get a chunky tomato-capsicum relish which is delicious, a black olive tapenade which is apparently a bit too salty and some hummus!
On my request, we order bruschetta (you all know my bruschetta obsession) and it is perfect. The bread is crunchy but soft in the middle, dripping with olive oil dressing and topped with tomatoes and chunks of mozzarella :)
We also order a seasonal vegetables, because we are healthy like that, sautéed in a nice amount butter and seasoned with salt and pepper ;) – I have tried and enjoyed it before but I stick to bruschetta this time. Mum likes it a lot, I can tell you that :D
Mains Time! One of the best parts of the evening :)
Mum and I decide to share because even if you do not get the 1m pizza (yep, they have it!), it is still a pretty hearty serving and I am not skimping on dessert here! We order the Ferrara, another fantastic name, a generously vegetable filled pizza. It has a very thin base and not a lot of cheese but it works perfectly together! Wood-fired, you get a beautiful smoky taste in each bite and honestly, I may as well be in Italy with this pizza, it feels so authentic!
Daddy decides to be the trendy one and get some fresh pasta. It takes a long time to choose (these guys have two large sections for pasta, three for pizzas!) but in the end, daddy goes for a saucy mixture with the goodness of chicken, cream and avocado. Not half bad, not bad at all, so good! :D
Dad, he got the affogato. Yea, I know, pretty boring, just a scoop of ice cream engulfed by strong coffee. WRONG!
3 scoops of the smoothest vanilla gelato sitting in a giant sundae cup, with 2 thick honeycomb pieces, adorned on the sides with small cups, one containing coffee, one containing Frangelico. Holy cow, the best affogato in the history of affogatos. A claim attested to by daddy :)
Have you met my classic brother? He is a sticky fellow. More like a sticky date fellow. So he goes ahead and gets a magnificent dariole mould shaped pudding, drenched in butterscotch with a scoop of that gorgeous gelato and a small whipped cream patch. Good stuff.
Mummy? She is all but dying for ice cream but stays strong and gets the traditional Tiramisu. Boy, is she happy with that decision :D
It is a chunk of coffee cream spongey goodness, adorned with chocolate flakes and powder. Every bite and my mum swoons.
Me? Well, I was a pain and took a year to decide. You see, everything looks so good, but everything looks so exotic. I want something a little familiar. Something I can be guaranteed heaven with. And then I see it. Nutella… nutella… nutella… nutella… and mum points out the stack of 1 kg Nutella jars in the corner on a shelf at the back of the room. Oh yeah…
I decide to go for more dough and get a nutella bomba (bomb of Nutella? YES!) – the dough is soft and sweet, a centre of warmed Nutella dripping off it, vanilla gelato melting into it. Aaaaah, it was absolute heaven – never have I seen Nutella used in such a delicious way!
- The service is the best I have seen – serving so many people, all at once, it must be difficult but there was little hitch, with only once my dad’s second drink order for coke being forgotten
- Attention to detail – serving in chilled glasses, giving a fresh set of cutlery, warmed plates and a napkin between courses, they really go that extra step to give great customer service
- An Italian restaurant with atmosphere – awesome Godfather paintings, Italian den vibe, they are not going for full on grandeur, they are getting into the awesome nitty-gritty of Italy
- I loved the way they served – one entree at a time, mains together, they knew immediately when to bring because of their efficiency – I will say though that the tables may have been a little too small for four
Booking: VERY recommended (online – this link)
Address & Contact Details:
- Food: http://www.crinitis.com.au/docs/food-menu.pdf
- Breakfast: http://www.crinitis.com.au/docs/breakfast-menu.pdf
- Kids: http://www.crinitis.com.au/docs/kids-menu.pdf
- Drinks: http://www.crinitis.com.au/docs/kids-menu.pdf
- Dessert: http://www.crinitis.com.au/docs/dessert-menu.pdf
Go and visit now, fresh warm plates are waiting… ;)
Moving far, far away from Italian food since I have eaten enough for at least a week :P, I had a thank you to give out. You see, there is a lady at my dad’s work who has one of the biggest smiles ever. You can call her Lady A.
Although everyone my dad works with is fantastic, Lady A seems to have a soft spot for us foodies so whenever someone brings something delicious to share with the crew there, she always packs one or two to send home to me. Awwwwwwwww! :)
She had a thank you long coming so I decided this weekend, with my spare hour, to whip her up some brownies because she is more than deserving of them! No, not just usual brownies, the real brownies. The all cocoa, fudgy pieces of absolute heaven!
My brownies. The best brownies. For her :)
Last time I made them, I stuffed them up with Oreos, and didn’t properly give you my adapted recipe. I got the original from Masterchef and changed it around to my liking. The recipe is gone from the website so luckily I saved it!
I did not have any Oreos in stock *oops* so I stuffed them with leftover M&Ms, marshmallows, peanuts and chocolate chips. Call them the Leftovers Best Brownies.
Leftover Candy Version Of The Best Brownies
Makes: 24 pieces (depending on the size cut)
- 250g butter
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 1 cup caster sugar
- 2 tbs golden syrup
- 1 tsp vanilla essence
- 100g cocoa powder, sifted
- 1 cup plain flour, sifted
- 1/2 tsp baking powder, sifted
- 5 eggs
- 1/2 cup M&Ms
- 1/2 cup chocolate chips
- 1/2 cup salted peanuts, chopped roughly
- 1/2 cup marshmallows, mini or roughly cut
- Preheat oven to 160 degrees C. Grease and line 2x 20cm baking tins
- In a large saucepan, melt the butter until starts to brown and smell a little nutty, add in sugars and stir over heat for a minute until combined then remove off heat – let cool for 10 minutes
- Stir in cocoa powder till mixed through
- One by one, beat in eggs until well combined each time. Make sure there is a gooey consistency
- Beat in the vanilla essence and golden syrup
- Stir in the flour, baking powder until a thick batter is formed *refrain from eating*
- Stir through the mix-ins *REFRAIN FROM EATING*
- Pour equal amounts of the batter into the tins and smooth the surface – bake for 30-35 minutes or until a skewer inserted comes out with gooey crumbs (I undercooked mine a little too much so I got the best brownies ever, maybe 25 minutes :P – but they were a little over gooey so go for the 30-35 mark)
- Leave to cool until room temperature and then refrigerate, covered loosely by baking paper. Cut and store in an airtight container in fridge
- DO NOT REFRAIN FROM EATING