Always wanted to make pasta, why bother when Sagra is here
Lunching at the new diner, Sagra in Darlinghurst with flavours of southern Italy, I was looking forward to the menu which I heard changes daily and radically.
Sagra is the name given to a local festival involving food and here at the restaurant it means a sparse yet quaint homely decorated terrace with wooden tables and different coloured chairs, topped off with a big red Berkel meat slicer next to the bar.
On this cold winter's day, with our tummies rumbling, we were ushered inside and had the place to ourselves. The menu consists of four antipasti, four primi (pasta dishes) and two secondi (main courses), usually one meat-based and one fish.
Starting with olives, 2 slices of bread and fruity olive oil to dip into, we perused the menu. We couldn't go past the thinly sliced ocean trout carpaccio, dotted with pieces of beetroot & horseradish. The affetato misto on offer included mortadella, prosciutto from San Daniele and homemade pancetta. We saw the Berkel in action as it was used to slice up the cured meat.
The next primi course, we opted for pappardelle with pork shoulder ragu (comfort food at its best) and the tagliatelle n'duja cooked with (a spicy soft salami) and cime di rape (broccoli) in a marscapone sauce. The servings are small and perfect to share and were devoured within seconds. The restaurant started to get rather busy and the delicious smells from what you imagine to be a nonna's kitchen was enough for us to try a secondi of melt in your mouth beef cheek, chickpeas immersed in a delicious fennel sauce and salsa rossa.
With a great variety of Italian wines to choose from, we couldn't go past a bottle of Langhe Arneis, a crisp white which complemented our meal nicely. But don't get too attached to the wine list, like the menu it also changes but on a fortnightly basis.
Always room for dessert, I settled on a pressed moist chocolate cake with hazelnut ice cream. Perfect way to end the lunch with a coffee and listening to the buzz of conversations.