If you have been reading my blog, you would know that I love Cantina 663. (see here and here) This time, however, I have been disappointed. I must add that only I (poor unfortunate one) had a poor dish but everyone else’s were good. This is still a drop from Cantina’s usual extremely high standards. The atmosphere remained great, the staff remained really helpful (even changing my booking from 3 to 5 at such late notice) and the wine list still brilliant.
Nicole, Theresa and Grace shared the duck liver parfait which I had to refrain from because…I don’t think pregnant ladies are allowed pate-like dishes. Anyway, I am sure I can rely on their taste; and they said it was really good. (as usual!)
Sarah has been health conscious recently. So she picked the crispy skin barramundi, eggplant puree, corn roasted cauliflower, radicchio ($34.50) and Nicole followed suit. It was a great choice. When it came, we were puzzled by the appearance of beans but that gave the dish its filling. The fish was fabulously fresh, the charred cauliflower beautifully smoky and the radicchio added that slight bitterness.
Theresa and Grace stuck to Cantina’s specialty – their gnocchi. This time, it is pan fried gnocchi, cauliflower, raisins, walnuts and tallegio ($25.50). The gnocchi was also really good – if you like your gnocchi pan fried to a crisp in some areas. It wasn’t as fluffy on the inside as usual but I suspect its because it was done so small. The cauliflower puree was fluffy and tasty – and the tallegio gave it a much needed ripe flavour.
My dish looked amazing. Look at it. Its the roasted lamb, brussel sprouts, raisins, kale, polenta ($31). When it came, Sarah said ‘ It looks really undercooked!’ but I was so defensive of my dish. I did like my lamb slightly bloody and it looked like it was going to be just that. As I took a bite however, it was so chewy and undercooked, I had to swallow a whole large piece. I passed it around for second opinions and everyone agreed that I should send it back.
When it returned, it looked well browned on the sides. Everyone said ahhh like ‘ this is what it should be like’. However it retained its unbearably chewiness! I liked that the brussel sprouts were nicely charred but the polenta was close to tasteless despite having a fabulous creamy texture. The sauce was also quite disappointing – it seemed watered down and lacking.
I would still say I love this place despite my dish because I’ve had too many good meals in this place to shoot it down so easily. Like I said, the atmosphere is still great for a bunch of noisy girls (see below) and only 1 dish was a disappointment.