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Published August 27th 2014
A Family Atmosphere Italian Restaurant
Red Zucchini is a local suburban Italian restaurant on the North Shore. It has an unassuming shopfront and can be easily missed along the busy Military Road. This really isn't a place that instantly springs to our mind for a sensational Italian feast. However, it is local and convenient to get to on a cold rainy night.
We booked a table for 2 at 6:30pm on a Saturday night. When we arrived, most of the tables were filled, quite a few by big Italian families having a night out. The restaurant was cozy and filled with happy diners. I can also smell the piping-hot fragrant pizza and pasta dishes coming out of the kitchen. This place looked promising.
We were shown to our reserved table and we were seated close to the open kitchen. My tastebuds woke up at the scents of aromatic bolognese sauces, melting cheese and hearty pepperoni pizzas. I eagerly opened the menu.
Quickly we made our selections and waited in anticipation. We talked, laughed and waited for 50 minutes. Then it was silence at our table because both of us were so ravenous that we were literally shutting-down to conserve energy.
We looked around and saw other tables happily enjoyed their meal and we wondered where our food was. It was almost a torturous experience sitting so close to the kitchen where we could smell, see but could not taste the dishes.
My friend was getting agitated and was not pleased to say the least. We alerted the staff to chase up our orders with the kitchen. At this stage I was a little disappointed by the service and the lack of food on my table.
The manager appeared and he was very apologetic about the kitchen stuff-ups. He quickly presented a complementary salad for us. The salad was light and refreshing with the balsamic dressing. However, it was a cold night in Sydney, a healthy but unsubstantial dish like a salad did not really calm my friend.
Finally after 60 minutes of wait, our pastas finally arrived. They looked appetizing and smelt so good, too.
I ordered the Gnocchi al Norma ($20.90) a simple vegetarian classic dish. The potato gnocchi was cooked with baked ricotta, basil, Napolitana sauce and topped with eggplants.
I added a few sprinkles of freshly shaved Parmesan cheese on top and the taste was pretty spot-on. I devoured the dish happily.
My friend ordered the Fettucine with Chorizo ($23.90). Despite my best effort to complement this pasta, it tasted a bit bland. We know this pasta was rushed because the sauce and the fettucine tasted separated. My friend added spoonfuls of parmesan cheese and black pepper, but unfortunately we could not make it to an amazing dish.
It was a long night and we needed something to cheer us up, so we ordered a Tiramisu dessert ($9.50) to share. We did not have to wait long for this to arrive.
The serving size was quite small and the dessert was contained in a plastic cup, like the ones you serve to children. Personally, I thought there was too much whipped cream on top and the actual dessert was quite minimal. However, my friend thoroughly enjoyed this dessert which was filled with mascarpone cheese, coffee, sponge fingers, chocolate & Marsala wine. I could actually see a smile at the end of the meal.
When we asked for the bill, our waitstaff came around and apologized profusely about tonight. He was very genuine and obviously felt bad about the whole experience. We accepted his apology and assured him that we understood that it was a fairy busy night and was just an oversight. We paid our bill and did not gave it another thought.
What surprised us was the Red Zucchini manager actually contacted my friend and offered his personal apology later that evening. Again, it was a heartfelt apology and he offered complementary meals to make up for it. We thanked him for his apology but did not take up the offer. However, we really did appreciate the gestures.
Red Zucchini is not what you considered haute cuisine but they serve good old fashioned hearty Italian food. It's a family business they try to treat each customer as friend and family.
Do you know why your order took so long? I could understand if every customer was having to wait because it was busy, but it seems odd that it was only you. Did your order just get 'lost' on its journey to the chefs?