Another week, another dinner date. I highly recommend planting restaurant bookings through your weekdays to break up the working week and make life more tolerable. Whenever I'm feeling overwhelmed and despondent, the thought of "at least I'm going out for dinner tomorrow night" helps perk up the mood ever so slightly.
We headed to Dell' Ugo in New Farm last week for a lateish dinner, approaching 8:30pm. As expected, the restaurant was rather quiet when we got there but that's exactly what I was in the mood for that night.
I had warned Marc to dress nicely because I thought the restaurant was fine dining and fancy but it wasn't as formal as I thought it would be. We took up a small table near the back wall and enjoyed the air conditioning.
Dell' Ugo is an Italian restaurant that offers much more beyond pasta dishes. Aside from a range of starters and entrees, there are proper 'protein' mains. Marc and I ordered a bruschetta to share and a main each. I thought of getting sides too but recent experiences in over-ordering have taught me that we just don't have room for sides.
Our bruschetta arrived on a plate as 3 decent sized pieces. The topping was fresh roma tomato with balsamic vinegar and herbs. It's a simple combination but very tasty. Even Marc, who's not usually a fan of tomato, liked this dish. We had to fight over the last piece.
Grilled MSA sirloin - with charred radicchio, broccolini, parmesan and balsamic
I thought about ordering a pasta dish but I was really in the mood for steak. That's a rare occurance for me so I just ran with it. Mine was a sirloin steak with a side of charred radicchio, broccolini and balsamic dressing.
Cut section of steak
The steak itself looked like it might be overcooked but I realised I was too quick to judge when I cut into it. It turned out to be perfectly cooked to a blushing pink medium. I loved the truffle-infused butter that melted over the steak. What surprised me was the radicchio. It was delicious! I'm keen to attempt recreating this at home. Bitter leaves are normally too strong for me but when charred, a lovely sweetness is introduced that makes the whole thing a lot more palatable. It went really well with the balsamic too.
Pasta with ragu sauce
Marc did order a pasta dish but because it was on a different page of the menu to what I photographed, and isn't listed on their website, I can't recall what it was called. It was some form of slow cooked ragu with a twisted pasta. This was another example of the dish tasting a lot better than it looked. The stark orangey red shade brought to mind tinned spaghetti so I predicted the flavour to be monotonous and under-developed. By contrast, when I actually sampled some of the pasta, I found it to be very rich and well balanced. It didn't taste like something I could make at home, and in my books, that's really the key to restaurant pasta. I don't know what the twisty shape is called but it tasted great and was perfect for picking up the meaty sauce.
We had a relatively simple but delicious meal at Dell' Ugo. I think that exemplifies good quality Italian food, which is more about highlighting top quality ingredients than getting too fancy and creative. Service was good and the dishes came out at a good pace.