Monday, June 13, 2011

Berta, Surry Hills

Blink and you may very well miss Berta, with its discreet and narrow glass entrance.  That's what happened to my poor friend K, when we were having one of our girly catch ups.  It was Wednesday, and we were here for one of Berta's sagra dinners.  The sagra dinner's centres around the use of a key seasonal ingredient.  Our sagra dinner menu was titled 'Sagra della Pera', meaning we were in for a treat, as it was going to be a pear feast.  I love pears, and was really looking forward to see how they were going to incorporate the use of pears in each dish.

I have a thing for Bellini's, so it was a must order for us to start the night.  It seemed that the flavour of the night was rhubarb.  It was refreshing, and the bubbles playfully lingered with each sip.

Rhubarb Bellini, $12

The starters of Corella pears wrapped in prosciutto came first.  The sweet Corella pears were firmer than what I would usually eat, but they had a lovely crisp texture.  The pears simply wrapped in prosciutto, with a drizzle of olive oil and lightly seasoned salt and pepper to taste, were very moreish and a lovely way to start the meal ahead.

Corella wrapped in prosciutto

Next, came our salad of Nashi pears, mizuna leaves, walnuts and gorgonzola was served.  The salad with the crisp Nashi pears, mizuna leaves, walnuts and speckles of gorgonzola was lovely.   The inclusion of mizuna leaves was interesting, as they  have an innate peppery taste to them.  With the additional cracked pepper for seasoning, some people may have found the level of pepper in this salad slightly overpowering.

Nashi, mizuna, walnut and gorgonzola salad

Melted cheese is one of my favourite winter indulgences. With the subtle sweetness of the soft pear, gooey warmth of the fontina cheese and depth of the speck against the soft bread crust, the calzone was a real treat.  It was a lovely accompaniment with our salad, as the gooey cheese toned down the peppery salad.

Speck, fontina and pear calzone

I loved the simple flavours of our ravioli dish.  You could really taste the celery and verjuice.  The crunch of the roasted almonds was a nice touch against the soft pear and parsnip ravioli.  However, if you are not keen on pepper, then be warned that they were quite liberal with it, but it suited me fine as I rather taste more pepper than salt in my dishes.

Beurre bosc and parsnip ravioli with celery, verjuice and almonds

The quail main was placed on the table to share and it was a generous serve of one quail each.  I loved the crisp sage and sprinkling of lentils for texture.  However, the quail was slightly dry and over cooked in the breast, and the actual flavours of the Josephine pears had not been marinated through enough to smother the quail in its sweet juices.

Quail with Josephines and crisp sage

The quail came with a side of brussel sprouts and honey golds eschallots.  There was a beautiful sweetness to the honey gold eshallots.  I really wished that the serving size of the side was slightly larger, as the crisp brussel sprouts were equally as delicious.

Sides of brussel sprouts and honey golds eschallots

When we were served dessert, and we were informed that it was a bread and butter pudding, I had my doubts.  Especially, when I was told it consisted of pears, roasted hazelnuts and Nutella, I didn't think this combination would work.  Also, I am not fond of bread and butter puddings in general.  However, this bread and butter pudding was an exception.

The initial trigger that lured me in was the fragrant smell of the roasted hazelnuts.   Bear in mind that I love hazelnuts.  At first bite you are seduced by the soft, moist and ever so slightly gooey pudding, followed by the soft sweetness of the pears, that was further complemented by the roasted hazelnuts, and then you are left being teased by subtle hints of Nutella.  This was a truly heart warming combination, but the accompaniment of mascarpone was wasted on me, as the tartness of the mascarpone took away from the subtle sweetness of the pudding in my opinion.

Packhams and hazelnut budino

I found the sagra dinner consisting of four course at $55, to be reasonably priced for what was presented to us that night.  Berta is the perfect place to unwind with friends or your special someone, with its dark and intimate surroundings.  I loved the simplicity of the ingredients and flavours of the food here.  This coming Wednesday's feast if anyone is interested is going to be a potato feast.  I'm tempted, but I really want to try their usual menu offerings next time.  

Dining away, Dumpling Girl.

17-19 Alberta Street
Sydney NSW 2000

Ph: (02) 9264 6133 

Berta on Urbanspoon


chopinandmysaucepan said...

I think every Sydney girl who's into the foodie scene has a thing for bellini :)

Almost every dish here has pears of some denomination in them! I love the look of the quails though and the sauce looks pretty awesome especially when the quail is dry. Now you've got my quail urge going when I'm about to roast my leg of lamb!

purabi naha said...

Loved reading your posts. You seem to be a great foodie and a talented shutterbug. Do visit my blog when you have time!

chocolatesuze said...

love the idea of 4 courses featuring seasonal produce, the potato dinner sounds fab thanks for the post!

Dumpling Girl said...

Hey chopinand, lol you may be onto something there. A leg of lamb is far from shabby, sounds better than my roast chicken last night :)

Hi purabu naha, thank you for your compliments, that is very kind of you. I'm glad you enjoy our blog.

Hello Suze, the potato dinner sounds right up my alley too, but unfortunately I have other plans. Sharing is caring after all :)

Buggles and Squeak said...

Sounds fantastic, Buggles has wanted to visit Berta for ages...after reading this I think we have to do it soon.

Tina@foodboozeshoes said...

Gorgeous! Esp the oozy calzone.
The sagra dinners are a great idea - agree with Suze ^^^ potato sounds the go!

Dumpling Girl said...

Hello Squeak, it was on my list for ages too, and I had no regrets. Hope you two have a great time when you're there.

Hi Tina, the food is simply beautiful to look at and eat :) The calzone was one of my faves, just a shame we only got a piece each, lol.

Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella said...

Those dishes are so calling to me now that we're in Winter! And I found that 121BC (owned by them) was really hard to find too! :P

Anonymous said...

That ravioli looks delicious!

Anna said...

Great menu concept - so good to see seasonal ingredients being showcased like this :)

Dumpling Girl said...

Hi Lorraine, it seems like Vini is the only one of their three restaurants that seems to be easy to find :)

Hello minibites, the ravioli was divine.

Hi Ladybird, I loved the idea too. It was great to see one ingredient used well in so many different ways.