Ristorante Tartufo, Emporium, Fortitude Valley, Brisbane

12:52:00 AM

One of the classic Italian restaurants you can find around Brisbane, carpark might be a bother since they seem to always be not-enough and you have to go around twice or more times to find yourself a spot.. Tartufo, meaning 'truffle' in Italian is located in Emporium, Fortitude Valley, is busier by night than by day.. Came here for lunch and only a few tables were filled and seemed quite empty... Though rated by the Good Food Guide, got its hat rating, and I've tried a few of the other restaurants around it anyway so went here for lunch..

The restaurant itself has its own history, the inspiration for the food came from Naples and the surrounding areas of Umbria, Abruzzo and Tuscany.. That may explain the interior, its European roots.. White cloth covered wooden tables, red sofas, red stools, the contrast of the interior was simple but yet, it made you feel like you weren't in Aus anymore.. Just its ambience made it feel that way..
I'm a big fan of artistic things, whether it's paintings or just simply creative interior that has been put up.. Maybe because I too have been and have always loved art since young..
We weren't too hungry and were planning to share a few plates.. and that's what we did.. and even on the menu, there was a statement 'we encourage you to share our food - all of our dishes can easily be plated for the individual or shared across the table'..
Vitello Tonato ($25.5) was one of a few dishes that caught my eye.. It is thinly sliced braised gippsland veal served cold, topped with tuna mayonnaise, anchovies, capers served with cornichons.. For those who don't know what 'cornichons' are small pickled gherkins (yes.. I know what some of you might say.. gherkins with cold veal and mayo?) But don't get ewwed away by the condiments in the dish.. Oh, it is also gluten free..
Presentation was simple, though I found it abit messy, but despite that.. portion was enough, maybe even too much for one, and this was an entree.. I found that the tuna mayonnaise was quite unique, bit fishy but still have that creaminess and although I'm quite a saucy person, I found that the mayonnaise was just abit too much for this dish, which somehow killed some of the cold veal's taste.. The capers and the cornichons was different as they are not a usual ingredient in dishes which I liked.. This dish reminded me of Carpaccio which they also had on their menu..
Second dish that we ordered isn't currently on the menu anymore as what I can see.. But it was one of their pasta entree dish.. House made Linguine served with olives, parsley, fresh tomato sauce... 
The sauce was the highlight of this dish with the strong fresh tomato, herbs and spices and its combination with the olives and parsley.. Though it was a simple dish, it was a nice accompaniment with the cold veal we had as well.. Portion was enough, even to share.. Although don't expect those massive whole plate filled pastas, as this is a fine dining restaurant.. 
The amount of olives and sauce was more than enough for me.. Sometimes when you order pastas in restaurant, it would have more pasta itself than the meat, but you wouldn't have to worry about it here..
For dessert we ordered Sfogliatella Napoletana ($16) and the waiter told us that it would be around 15-30mins wait.. 'Sfogliatella' simply means small/thin layers which resembles the flaky pastry.. The dish consists of traditional neapolitan dessert made by a flaky pastry filled with ricotta and cedro, served with raspberry coulis and flower petals..
The dish did end up taking a while however when it came out, the presentation was pretty with the little cute flower petals, and three petite fragile flaky thin layered pastry.. The flower petals are edible, usually the big flower petals aren't so edible, but the small ones are.. I did try them, but didn't eat them all... I found that it was a very artistic way of using and presenting flaky pastry, especially that these were small pastries and not those big ones.. To be able to do the thin lines would've been troublesome (well, maybe not to an expert..).. The pastry was quite warm when it arrived on our table and I just could not take my eyes off the thin layers..
The Sfogliatella was something I have not eaten nor seen in other Italian restaurants so I was quite happy with it.. The ricotta and cedro burst out of the pastry as soon as I took a bite of it.. They sure filled up the whole pastry inside as you could not see the ends of it.. The petite diced fruits, raspberry coulis all matched nicely with it when eaten..
Sfogliatella - filled with ricotta and cedro
Ristorante Tartufo on Urbanspoon

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