I'm immediately drawn to the newly renovated Jet Bar Caffe at QVB upon approaching it. The interior is slick and modern, the large windows command a lovely view of Town Hall and the colour palette lends to the minimalistic feel of the venue.
Owner Tony Mowad tells me that the bar and cafe has only been open for three weeks after its renovations. I'm definitely liking the shift from coffeehouse to an eatery that caters to coffee aficionados, nightcap lovers and those seeking an Italian meal right in the heart of the Sydney CBD.
I'm here to try the Australian-Italian fare with my favourite food-loving friend (let's call her Miss D). First up, Tony offers us wine - we let him choose a glass of white for us. The waitress sashays to our table with two glasses of 2010 Caldora Pinot Grigio from Abruzzo, Italy ($8 a glass). We're very pleased with his choice.
We pick the Goats cheese with baby beetroot, roast peppers & pistachio nuts ($17) as a starter - and I have to say I'm a big fan. The ingredients complement each other nicely, and I'm delighted by its refreshing flavour.
Goats cheese with baby beetroot, roast peppers and pistachios
Miss D orders the Squid ink risotto with crispy calamari ($24) as her main. Tony warns us that it's intense, but we had no idea just how intense we're talking until the dish is placed before Miss D's wide eyes.
This dish is not for the faint-hearted by any means. Nor is it for people who are self-conscious about squid ink getting all over their teeth and lips. Miss D makes a valiant effort at finishing the whole dish. She likes the flavour but thinks it's slightly too salty.
I go with a much safer choice (I'm unfortunately not as adventurous as Miss D) - the Grilled Barramundi with roast peppers, zucchini, olives and almonds ($29).
Grilled Barramundi with roast peppers, zucchini, olives & almonds
The chocolate budino with hazelnut gelato ($15) is warm, light and fluffy. I also notice that it's not sickeningly sweet, which Jet gets brownie points (budino points?) for in my books. The hazelnut gelato is such a great addition. My only concern is that there isn't enough of it. But you probably know by now that I'm a sucker for ice cream and gelato. Nothing is ever enough.
The Calabrese doughnut with honey gelato & vincotto ($12) is doughy, bready and delicious. Again there's that great combination of warm and cold, which I can't get enough of. The vincotto adds a slightly sour dimension to the dish. The doughnut is pretty big, so we can't even finish it.
Executive Consultant Chef Danny Russo comes over while we're having dessert. He tells us the doughnut is twice fried. Twice fried can only mean twice as good, I'm thinking.
Danny Russo and Head Chef Immanuel Arena have created an Italian menu that will certainly attract city-goers. Whether it's for a cheeky limoncello, a spot of breakfast or a full-on Italian meal, Jet Bar Caffe is perfectly situated and definitely worth a visit.
Jet Bar Caffe is open 7 days a week from 7.30am to 11pm. Visit the website to view the breakfast, lunch and dinner menus.
Note: Miss D and I dined at Jet Bar Caffe as guests of the restaurant.