Napoli in Bocca, Haberfield - Sydney
The Calamari Ripieni was carefully packed with other seafood mince and came out beautifully on the mouth. Even if I have a current aversion to overwhelming gravies of tomato, I accepted the Napoletana gravy well as it blended well with the taste of seafood. This was a good accompaniment to our Messina beer.
I have been to this restaurant several times - it is just a stone's throw from the main set of lights in Haberfield's junction of Ramsay and Dalhousie Streets.
We had arrived ten minutes early and were told that Bocca opens at noon. We came back dutifully but were led to the worst table for two, beside a door that indicated toilet. The place was otherwise relatively empty when we sat down. The veal was tough and chewy. We ordered three dishes between the two of us and even if we said we were sharing, one of the mains did not come with a serving spoon.
I had inadvertently left a small bag of fresh aromatic bread when we left. When I came back for it, I went to our lunch table but the chubby waiter, upon seeing me, exercised his discretion and was not very helpful, asked me to wait in a haughty tone, flinching a level of his ignorance and just shouted to another staff at the counter - the pizza guy - for the bag, instead of speaking to me directly to collect it accordingly. In silence, , i walked over to another part of the venue and tHe pizza guy sheepishly gave me my bag of breads.
At that very moment, I thought of my resident villages of Italian cuisine in Fairy Meadow, Balgownie and Wollongong - and the lovely Australians of southern Italian heritage there do not behave in this peculiar way. I also felt to return to Carlton's Lygon Street. In balance, I must note that the other wait staff were rather nice, including those who took our food and drink orders, cleared the plates and asked if we wanted to consider dessert.
The highlight of our Sunday lunch was the rucola - really fresh and rather sweet tasting large rocket with a subtle dash of thinly sliced Parmesan cheese, seedless olives, balsamic ooze and virgin olive oil. We could eat them with an easy abandon and nurture our bodies with greens that are as meant to be consumed, without artificiality but with the quality of enhancing dressing and produce of the Earth as natural as they can be. At under AUD10, it was an optimal entree.
The veal (Vitello Funghi) as one of the mains was disappointing meat wise. Biting into them sent sensations of toughness and rubbery fears. Redeeming features were the white wine cooked sauce with a touch of cream and the delightful potato pieces. We were glad that we had a non-tomato base for this. The lunch menu at Napoli in Bocca was not varied if you did not want pasta or pizza - and we had thought of getting something away from the chicken and fish.