On a sunny, daylight savings evening we visited Bar Idda in Brunswick East. It’s a lovely little spot, a small and pleasant place to share a meal.
Inside, the decor is simple and quite homely, right down to the plastic wrapped tables. Somewhere else they might have been tacky, here they invoked childhood memories of sticky hands and messes made on grandmothers table. The staff at Bar Idda were native Italian speakers, with an efficient and polite approach to service.
The menu is divided into a range of sections, antipasti, primi, secondi, contronini and dolce. Between the two of us we went for a selection to share. To start, something a bit lighter, green olives with pickled veggies. A tang to go with the richness of the thinly sliced salami with just a hint of the good olive oil. Predictably for us we felt compelled to order the Caciocavello All’argenteria, fried caciocavello cheese, served with honey and a red pepper conserve. The light and melted cheese, stringy to the point of ridiculousness and the sweetness of the honey and pepper were a killer combination. You wouldn’t think fried cheese could get any better, clearly it can! The first of our main meal was the Ragu. A pork and beef ragu, with a twisted pasta and a generous helping of pecorino cheese. The pasta was delightful, so obviously fresh, cooked al-dente, just how we like it. The ragu had a wonderful depth and fullness of flavour, beautifully complimented by the light bite of cheese. This was just a delicious, real pasta dish.Our next choice with the Herbed Lamb Cutlets. The meat was tender and juicy, but a touch too fatty for our tastes. The crumb was light but crisp. The richness of the meat went so well with the pesto and lemon, just lifting away the heaviness of the meat and fry.
Having consumed an elegant sufficiency, it was time to indulge with dessert! Our first choice was the Canollo, a light cannelloni filled with custard and served with a refreshing granita. In contrast, we also tried the Ricotta Cake (Cassata). It was a much heavier dessert, rich and creamy throughout. We loved the marzipan top, the richness of the soaked base, and those heavy, sweet cherries.
We really enjoyed the simple but delicious food at Bar Idda. We’ll be sure to return for more Sicilian cuisine!