Having been put in charge of another group outing, I was about to suggest another round of Japanese food, when a classmate of mine said "we almost only ever have Japanese or Hot Pot or Korean when we get together". It was due to this, that I made the resolution to arrange for our dinner to be at an Italian restaurant. Having been to Capri at Emporium, I had also heard many good reviews about Tartufo. So that's where we decided to have our group dinner.
We were warmly welcomed by our friendly host and promptly seated at our table. The décor was rustic, and other patrons were quite chatty but we were thankful to be seated in a quiet area so that we could talk without needing to shout. Chilled water was promptly served. Naturally at a pizzeria we all agreed we would not settle for anything other than pizzas, being in an Italian restaurant though it would not be proper if we did not order pasta as well. After much deliberation, we decided upon three pizzas, and two pastas to share.
Our first pizza was the Tartufo, being the restaurant namesake, we expected it to be good. It contained tomato, mozzarella, prosciutto, porcini mushroom puree, cherry tomato, shaved parmesan, basil and extra virgin olive oil with pork sausage and truffle paste encased in the crust. The first thing we noticed when it was served was the novelty of the crust design. The base was deliciously thin, and the crust was crunchy but not too hard. I particularly liked the star shape of the pizza, which was well received among all participants. Put together with the other toppings, I felt that the truffle stole the show, and all the other elements such as the sausage and prosciutto were merely accompaniments. Additionally I felt that a truffle pizza would have been far more compatible if served with a white sauce than a tomato based one.
Our second pizza and second main was the Cotto E Funghi pizza served with mozzarella cheese, champagne ham, button mushrooms and basil laced with extra virgin olive oil. The cheese was stringy and the ham well salted reminding me of the UQ Pizza Caffe. As above, this was another mushroom themed pizza, and whilst novel, we would have enjoyed it more on a white sauce base rather than tomato.
Our final pizza, the tomato based Tropea had pork sausage, mozzarella cheese, Spanish onion, basil and extra virgin olive oil. The pastry was not too thick and overall soft paired with the stringy cheese it made for a comforting feeling. The combination of Spanish onion and the pork sausage was strong in flavor and a refreshing contrast to the mozzarella cheese in addition to much welcome texture.
Our first pasta was the linguine ai funghi tartufati, a house made linguine served with wild cultivated mushrooms, butter, mascarpone and truffle paste, topped with parmesan and a generous serving of cracked black pepper. Whilst some people do not like cracked pepper, my companions felt it was a welcome addition to the dish. The linguine was cooked to al dente much to my liking. I liked the combination of flavours very much as the mascarpone both complemented and accentuated the truffle flavous, however we found the serving size to be somewhat lacking.
Our second pasta dish, and last main of the night was the Mafalde coniglio e percorino.
For those of you unfamiliar with Italian, “coniglio” means rabbit, yes that’s right the cute furry creature that hands out easter eggs. It was served with carrot, onion, celery and cracked pepper and pecorino. Having never tried rabbit, and considering the novelty of such a dish, it was something we all agreed to try. The rabbit was interesting as it tasted like firm chicken, with a gamey taste to it. I found it ironic though, that the rabbit was served with carrot - the chef must have been in a jovial mood.
To summarise I felt the meal erred on the side of pricey given the strong competition nearby. As a way to alleviate this we all agreed portions could be more generous. Despite this I enjoyed my time at Tartufo especially with the friendly staff serving us.
Price Range: $20 - $30pp