It’s always nice to get to try a new restaurant and it’s always a bonus when a new addition to the restaurant scene offers a voucher promotion to sample their fare at some bargain rate. I suppose I just use it as a good excuse to visit.
When I saw a deal for 353 on Bubbler not too long ago I was really excited, because I’d heard some really positive things about their food. Essentially the voucher was for two meals, either breakfast or lunch, to the value of $38. So you could go over that if you fancied and then just chip in the difference. We opted to do this when we arrived for our lunch booking.
It was only when we arrived that I realised that 353 Cambridge St in Wembley is where Ciconni’s used to be. I had been to Ciconni’s many moons ago for a progressive dinner. We’d had mains there. Had been nice as far as I can recall. I digress though. The fit out of 353 is fairly modern, but still manages to feel very welcoming. The friendly staff ensure that. :)
Once seated we were swiftly brought out some water and a bowl of popcorn was put on our table. Popcorn is one of those wonderful things that is just so easy to eat and is sort of addictive after that first mouthful. It was also particularly pleasing to discover, after chatting to one of the waiters, that popcorn is now considered a superfood – nice!
We had a quick look at the drinks menu and GG opted for a Peroni, good choice given the beautiful sunny weather, and given I had not long ago finished my personal training sesh decided to partake in a juice – freshly squeezed apple sounded too good to pass up. Loved the presentation of the juice in a jar! Jars definitely seem to be all the rage of late, whether it be for juice, cocktails or even desserts. I think they are a cute option.
So we sipped on our drinks and turned our attention to the food menu. It wasn’t an overly extensive lunch menu but there were some interesting choices available. Both feeling particularly peckish we decided we would share the Salumi Platter – three meats, bread, roasted pears ($21) and then for mains GG ordered the Fish, Saffron potato, salmoriglio,silverbeet, raisin dressing (MP – $37) and I went for the Vialone nano risotto, mixed wild mushroom, crème fraiche ($26).
Didn’t take long for our starter to arrive and plus we had popcorn to snack on (which they refilled for us once we had powered through the first bowl :)). I have a lot of time for cured meats and salami is high on my list of favourites. I really enjoyed the combination of the poached pears with the salty meat – contrasted really nicely. We ate a few of the almonds and they were nice, with their sprinkling of paprika salt, but we both eat a lot of almonds during the week so we focused on the meat, along with some of the baguette. The baguette itself, baked in house, was just beautiful. It came along with a dish of olive oil and a balsamic vinegar. It was quite a sweet tasting vinegar. We put a respectable dent in the platter with only a few stray nuts remaining.
And the mains. The fish of the day was a Gold Band Snapper and I did think that GG’s lunch plated up nicely. I didn’t try his meal, but from all accounts he did enjoy it and it seemed to disappear in record time! A growing lad I suppose :)
My risotto arrived and the first thing I noticed was the divine, heady scent of the truffle oil that had been artistically drizzled around the dish. Truffle has such a distinct smell and flavour, was very pleased that it was included in this dish. The risotto itself was filled with a wide variety of mushrooms and that really served to enhance the intense mushroomy flavour. The parmesan shaved on top was a delicious addition and I really enjoyed this dish. I’ll concede that given that risotto is particularly filling I did have to ask for the assistance of my dining companion to help me finish, but I don’t think having to eat some of this lovely risotto was much of a trial :)
We didn’t stay for dessert on this visit, both feeling quite comfortable at this point, but I had seen some being delivered to tables and am definitely keen for a return visit to focus my attention on the sweeter side of the menu.
Service had been so friendly and very efficient, the food was really delicious and so lovely to be sitting by a big open window on such a sunny Summer day.
353 considers itself a brassiere by day and then artistry at night. I look forward to partaking in some artistry soon!