Sydney is expanding rapidly and with the influx of people from so many different cultures, we are now home to some of the best restaurants in the world. Australia truly is the land of opportunities. Many people have a vision of owning their own business, but it's only the ones with true passion, skill and determination that can achieve such a goal. One such person is Jason Tran, owner of Allegra Dining. Jason had a vision for a unique dining experience where patrons can enjoy fine dining, but not at an exorbitant price.
Jason describes Allegra dining as an elegant woman who loves to welcome all into her home. Since opening her doors in 2017, Allegra Dining has been capturing the hearts of its guests through her culinary creations, joyful ambience and excellent service. Allegra also means cheerful and lively. Allegra Dining is all that and more. Tucked away at 18 Dank street in Waterloo's popular dining district, Allegra Dining joins a group of restaurants that offer their residents and local community a range of cuisines, in particular, contemporary Italian fusion.
At Allegra Dining, you will find a modern and sleek space. A space designed with a minimalistic approach in decor. Simple dining chairs and tables sit over polished concrete floors. The interior has a warm glow from the overhead bulbs. During the day, the venue is bathed in natural light that streams in from the floor to ceiling glass concertina doors. At one end, you can view the Chefs preparing food in the open kitchen. At the other is a long marble-topped bar area.
Opening just 8 months ago, this restaurant already has a loyal following. Owner Jason Tran had a vision, he wished to create something uniquely different to the standard Italian restaurant. Here you won't see the same menu week after week or your standard Italian cuisine of spaghetti bolognaise and pizza on the menu. In fact, at Allegra Dining you can rarely order the same dish twice. Head Chef Alex constantly designs new dishes based on what local produce and seasonal ingredients are available each week. All dishes are designed with an emphasis on sustainable fresh produce, so, imagine dishes created with grass-fed beef or lamb, foraged pork, broths from bone, organic dairy and so on. Jason and Head Chef Alex believe this is the ultimate way to offer high-quality supreme flavours.
This was followed by our first course. Sydney Rock Oysters from Port Stephens with a dill olive oil, Avruga caviar and Thai cucumber. It was visually appealing and I enjoyed the different flavours. The Avruga caviar provided a milder taste than a traditional roe, which can sometimes be quite pungent and intense. The addition of the dill olive oil was an interesting ingredient that added a colourful green tinged gloss and mild olive taste. Personally, I adore natural Sydney Rock Oysters on their own with a spritz of lemon or sitting on a bed of crushed ice champagne granita.
Next, we were served Squid Ink Ravioli filled with Balmain bugs and scallops, tomato, bottarga and green garlic. Squid Ink certainly gives a dish that seaside flavour. As the ink was mixed with the other ingredients, the ravioli had a slight nutty flavour. The Ravioli had a silky dark hue from the ink, providing a stylish edge to the standard ravioli.
We paired this dish with a glass of BTW Pinot Grigio 2017, a Zilzie Wine produced from grapes in the Murray River Region of Victoria. We really enjoyed the wine which came out in a chilled glass with apple and spring blossom undertones.
Our next course was my favourite, Chicken alla Diavola with Pesto Calabrese and lemon which we paired with a glass of Organic 'Momo' Rose from NZ. This chicken's flavour had my heart in a flutter and my taste buds in a twirl. Tender, juicy and full of flavour. We almost licked the bones clean. Jason explained that the secret to this dish was using a smaller organic chicken and seasoning with an exotic secret herb mix a couple of days earlier.
My next favourite course was the dessert. Mango pancake made with mascarpone crepe, mango semifreddo, mango gelatine boba pearls, fresh mango and burnt meringue. This dessert just melted in my mouth. I enjoyed rolling the boba pearls along the edge of my teeth before biting gently to release the juice onto my taste buds. Divine.
Our long lunch took us around 2 & 1/2 hours which we felt was the perfect amount of time to enjoy each dish and the wines without feeling rushed.
Keep in mind that at Allegre Dining, you can expect an ever-changing menu boasting an impressive selection of starters, mains and desserts for a great dining experience, as well as an all-day Sunday brunch menu for a relaxing weekend treat.
The degustation menu is also designed to provide customers an unforgettable dining experience without the hefty price tag priced at only $55 per person. All the menu items have been carefully handpicked by Jason using fresh and local produce to give the diner a superior dining experience. They are fastidious about where their food comes from and how it is prepared and delivered.
What is memorable about Allegra Dining apart from the outstanding cuisine, is their commitment to making guests feel at home. Jason and his team are warm and friendly and they aim to make each guest feel welcome offering delicious and unique food that won't burn a hole in your pocket, while still offering a fine dining experience.