I find myself at The Dolphin’s Dining Room twice in the span of a month or so. I’m back again because the pappardelle bolognese was so freaking good the first time around that I needed to eat it again ASAP. The sauce is rich, deepened by buffalo ricotta and gremolata. But let’s talk about the pasta – MAN, it’s stupefyingly good. Silky, slippery ribbons of pappardelle that mop up all the delicious bolognese. I’m practically drooling again at the thought.
With an equally lush ragu, the gnocchi with braised lamb neck, spinach, and green olive is an extra dish sent out by the kitchen (I’m not sure why, but thank you!).
To start, the burrata with ALTO Novello olive oil is pure and delicious in all of its glory, though also great with a side of the Afghan bread. The polenta chips are fine, though nothing too exciting (Note: I’m not a fan of polenta in general, which is weird because I LOVE corn. Second note: I didn’t order them).
While the pasta is the shining star for me, the crisp, Roman-style pizza is also excellent. The dough is a 48-hour ferment made with Olssons salt and ALTO extra virgin oil, as well as sustainably grown tomatoes and Vannella cheese.
I love that the menu specifies the usage of all Aussie ingredients in their pizza – especially the cheeky comment ‘except anchovies. And the guy making it… maybe he isn’t Australian either.’ Heh.
Anyway, I fall in love with the Sorbello, a blushing pizza made with marinated Sorbello family tomatoes, garlic, basil, and mozzarella. The tomato is wonderfully aromatic, but the star is that heady garlic flavor that saturates the pie. Hello, garlic breath. On my previous visit, we have the mushroom and truffle pizza – also good, but I always prefer tomato-based pizzas, so the Sorbello reigns supreme for me.
The octopus is sublime. And I don’t even like octopus normally, but it’s so tender and delicious served with poached kipflers and salsa verde. And the wood roasted vegetables (tonight it’s Brussels sprouts) are a winner with a subtle hum of chilli.
A sweet end comes in the form of a spooned mass of Zokoko tiramisu, showing off with a creamy texture and paper thin slivers of Zokoko chocolate. The Nutella sundae delivers exactly what it promises: a glassful of ice cream, Nutella, and whipped cream.
I’m a huge fan of exec chef Monty’s work (I loved my meal at Icebergs), but I was really not prepared to love the food at The Dolphin as much as I did.
My only qualm was that I felt rushed both times. All the food came racing to the table at once, and it felt like some kind of marathon trying to eat everything as fast as possible, plus fitting it all on the table was a challenge. It probably doesn’t help that I’m a slow eater.
Anyway, it’s safe to say I’ll be back at The Dolphin. Again and again.
412 Crown St, Surry Hills, NSW
11.30am to midnight