Saturday, November 25, 2006

La Locanda, Macpherson St, Waverley

La Locanda, Macpherson St, Waverley
Saturday 25 November, 2006

Tonight a friend's birthday dinner beckoned me to Bronte or is that Waverley? The address is listed as Waverley but everything you read about the restaurant states Bronte. Who knows...maybe it sounds better to say Bronte? I had never heard of this place but the restaurant blurb states,

Everybody loves a good-looking Italian and La Locanda is as cool, classy and elegant as Sophia Lauren. It resides at a previously unloved section of central Bronte, virtually a world away from the suburb's teeming, and underwhelming, seaside cafes - and now that La L is opposite Wet Paint, Bronte's other top noshery, there's even more reason to head inland. The small, airy dining room packs a big punch, with brisk service that aims to please, seasonal Italian food that excels, and loyal locals that even include some high-profile chefs. The entree of tenderly grilled, stuffed calamari is a must.

My first impressions were of the large chandelier hanging high above the small dining space, the feature wall with fabulous Renoir like images of women and the chalkboard written up in Italian. Did you say Italian? Yes, Italian. You might think you are in Italy, for about all of 5 seconds but the loud, noisy sound of broad Australian accents brings you crashing back pretty quickly. So, what's with the Italian menu?

The small dining space is cramped but the staff do their best to apologise everytime they knock the back of your chair. We had a party of 10, so once everyone arrived the staff came around to translate the menu. They go through everything - from the 4-5 entrees, 5 pasta dishes and 4 mains. I'm afraid that it is near impossible to remember everything - so there's lots of repeating dishes unless you hook onto something you really want or spot a dish on another table that you want.

I ordered the stuffed calamari (house specialty) for entree and lamb cutlets for main. I wasn't alone - our table ordered every last calamari and 5 of the lamb cutlets. The mains are as is - so will need to order plenty of sides to fill your plate.

Despite the small dining space and the noise (it is near impossible to hear someone sitting opposite you) the food is sensational. It leaves Leichhardt for dead. The stuffed calamari was filled with ricotta, pine nuts and pesto and you received two decent sized pieces on your plate. The lamb cutlets were spectacular - so tender with 4 cutlets resting on the plate.

The service was also very good - the staff clearly love working here and enjoy explaining the menu. I really enjoyed it - it's homely and all about the food.

La Locanda - 65B Macpherson St, Waverley - (02) 9389 3666


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