Friday, August 25, 2006

The Old School Trattoria, Mona Vale Rd, St. Ives

The Old School Trattoria, Mona Vale Rd, St. Ives
Friday 25 August, 2006

It's been a few years since I dined here and I was looking forward to returning. The Old School Trattoria delivers Tuscan cuisine and as I am off to Italy shortly I viewed this as preparation.

Located in an old school house on Mona Vale it has an old world charm and laid back feel. Michael & Pina use to run La Trattoria on Hayman Island many years ago and continue to deliver the goods. The servings are large and the value is enormous. The decor is basic, wooden chairs and tables and with the wooden floorboards the noise carries - so if there is a rowdy group having dinner you will be entertained by them all evening. It's also BYO.

In 2005 the SBS Eating Guide stated, "It's in a gorgeous location-an old school house, hence the name-and it bills itself as offering Tuscan cuisine. This means that besides a few golden oldie menu offerings-pasta, pizza, veal and seafood-you'll also find a real fiorentina, a great big beautiful aged steak"

The menu is divided into categories, meat, seafood, pasta, pizza etc and they have an anti pasta bar that is filled with the freshest seafood, vegetables and cold meats. Tonight I couldn't go past the baked eggplant for entree and the veal shank for main. When I say the servings are large, consider this. When the entrees arrived at the tables almost everyone asked if these were the mains. They were huge. Sadly, there is just way too much food and most of us left half the serving on the plate.

The baked eggplant was layered with tomato, eggplant, and parmesan - it was a little rich and too cheesy but still enjoyable. The veal shank arrived at the table and I could not stop laughing - I had enough meat on this plate to feed a family of four! The presentation for these hearty meals is perfect, most of the meat dishes are delivered on large wooden cutting board with very sharp steak knives. The meat just fell away from the bone, it was tender and delicious. Three of my dinner buddies also ordered this dish and no-one finished it. I don't like to waste food, but this was unavoidable.

Another dinner buddy ordered their aged rump that comes out on the mother of all chopping boards. It's a sight to behold - the meat is almost hanging off the board and is cooked to perfection. It also comes with a special knife.

There was no way you could fit dessert in at The Old School Trattoria. Which is a shame as I heard they do a mean tiramisu.

The Old School Trattoria - 205 Mona Vale Rd, St. Ives - (02) 9144 6466


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