Monday, March 26, 2007

Young Alfred, Alfred St, Circular Quay

Young Alfred, Alfred St, Circular Quay

Monday 26 March, 2007

Today was a thank you lunch and the venue was kept under wraps until 15 mins beforehand. I love surprises and this was a pleasant one. Our group of 6 walked down to Circular Quay on this sunny Autumn day and wandered into Customs House.

Young Alfred is located on the Ground Floor of Customs House. As you walk through the main entrance it's on the left and spills out onto the veranda. The main foyer of Customs House is a treasure trove of fascinating stuff from a miniature model of Sydney city under glass (which you can walk over) to newspapers from all over the world (want to read Frank Bruni's latest review from the NY Times each Wednesday?). Needless to say I'm one of the last in Sydney to discover this as the newspaper section is packed.

We were directed to our table inside and then promptly forgotten about for a good 10 mins. I was having flashbacks to my last visit over 12 months ago. Surely the service has improved since then? Sadly no, we waited..............and waited..................................and then waited some more.

It's certainly not due to lack of staff - there were at least 4 milling around the bar area but they didn't appear interested in serving their customers today. When we finally did wave down a staff member we ordered drinks and asked for menus.

The menu is largely Italian and offers a range of gourmet pizzas, slow roast lamb casseroles, seafood casseroles, pastas etc. It's a lean menu and has several gems to pick from. We kicked off with some bruschetta that was delivered in individual bowls - the aroma from the fresh tomatoes, basil and olive oil was sensational and it tasted pretty good too.

We struggled to flag down a waiter to take our lunch orders and when one did arrive he didn't have a pen or paper. He was a little arrogant in his approach and laughed when we enquired how he would be able to remember everything. To his credit he did get everything right but it was the attitude that bothered more than anything.

For our mains the table ordered 2 x mushroom risotto, 1 x Orecchiette and 2 x pizzas. I ordered the Martha pizza (roma tomatoes, basil and bocconchini) and shared this with my lunch buddy who ordered the TNT pizza (salami, red onion, bacon, chilli and capsicum). Every dish that arrived at our table looked fabulous - the presentation and aromas were first rate.

Our pizzas were good - they were sliced into 4 pieces and served on a light, thin base. I love simple, fresh pizzas that use the best ingredients and make the most of the flavours - they delivered on all counts.

Sadly the service was atrocious. It is a shame as the food delivers....this is becoming a disappointing trend in Sydney.

Young Alfred - Ground Floor, Customs House, 31 Alfred Street, Circular Quay - (02) 9251 5192


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