Taking a joke to far. Thats the best explanation as to what happened one ordinary evening. The usual suspects - The Boss Lady, Wiki Mel, Demos and Myself assembled after work at Uccello. Now Demos, bless his little heart, has become used to the company of us three rambunctious (his words) females. Of course being the gentleman that he is - he arrives on time and patiently waits for us as we file into the restaurant. One by one we greet our favourite male companion "Happy Birthday" ever so loudly and apologise for being a tad late.
Demos' birthday is in November and this dinner was during an outing in April, so of course the poor boy was confused. But hey, we needed something to get excited about and celebrate. We toasted to Demos' imaginary birthday - and because this was an after work dinner, I know I speak for my dining companions when I say the vino was much needed.
As we get comfortable in our lovely booths, we arrive quite early and it seemed like we were the only people there. Uccello is a elegant Italian restaurant located in the Ivy complex. During the day the sun just fills up the whole room and reflects so beautifully off the white marble tables and bright yellow accents. You have a wonderful view of the Ivy pool and bar on one side, a expansive wine collection on another, and an bustling kitchen on the other side.
The last time us Empty Fridgers visited Uccello, it was back in the day where Massimo Bianchi was at the helm. Chef Fernando Riva has now taken the reigns at this establishment and we were all very curious to try his take on Italian fare. We start off with the Salumi platter and a bowl of mixed olives. The cured meat selection was top notch - Prosciutto San Danielle, Wagyu Bresciola, Spicy Salami but unfortunately it did not go too far with 4 hungry patrons who do love their antipasti.
Heirloom tomato, Ligurian olives, basil and caramelized Spanish onion $15
We find our other starters very tasty, however the portions didnt seem to be big enough to share. We did fight over the sweet chunky slices of tomatoes in the heirloom salad - it was a beauty to look at as well with Demos making the comment that he only wanted to eat the yellow pieces because yellow Lambourghini's go quicker then the red ones. I'm sure this was said to throw some random masculinity in the mix being the only male on the table.
Tuscan style calamari, baby spinach, chickpeas and spicy tomato sauce $24
The calamari was one of the favourite dishes of the night and WikiMel happily let us attack her plate and try it even thought he serving was quite small. The chickpeas cut the acidity brought by the spicy tomato sauce, but the winner definitely was the fresh and tangy calamari pieces. We all wanted more!
Spelt tagliolini, seared scallops, roast pumpkin, basil and pangrattato
The Boss Lady looks after all us the best, she gets the perfect serve of her taglioni with a sample of both the seared scallop and roasted pumpkin in the spoonful. I can't help but sneak a few more serves from her plate and steal serves of the expertly seared scallop. The spelt pasta has a grittier texture and tastes much more "wheaty" compared to your usual flour based pasta and I found it a bit lighter than regular pasta. The sweetness from the roasted pumpkin also provided a nice unexpected flavour, and its all tied together by the light drizzle of olive oil.
Grilled duck breast, sauteed brussel sprouts, orange peel, toasted walnuts with a dry marsala reduction
I admit to being quite the creature of habit and my friends do tend to skip on duck dishes on any menu for any cuisine as they know I am bound to order it.
Uccello's duck offering was impressive. I enjoyed the strong gamey taste of this piece - a testament to Uccello's high regard for quality produce. The breast is quite thick and perfectly cooked with a light pink center. The dry marsala reduction is a sweet contrast to the salty skin and very tender and juicy meat. The walnuts and brussel sprouts seem to be present to change it up texture wise but takes on the flavour of the marsala and duck fat.
Pan roasted fillet of travella, peas, asparagus, oven dried cherry tomatoes with herb vinigarette
The travella was another beautifully presented dish. The crispy and salty crust was the first to go and the sweetness of the cherry tomatoes added not only bright colours to the dish but a nice 'pop' of flavour also.
With our offers of dessert, tea and coffee we are provided with a small plate of cute petit fours - however we could not decypher any of the flavours..we just knew the pink iced mini sponge matched Demos' shirt perfectly. As we were waiting for the bill and laughing the night away with inside jokes we were not prepared for what happened next!
There were more laughs and a bit of panic all around when a slice of tiramisu with a candle came out. Our waitstaff actually caught on our conversation at the start of our meal, and although we were kidding around amongst ourselves - they overheard us and actually believed it was Demos' birthday! Were we to come clean, say we were just joking around - and in fact it was nobodies birthday?
Of course not..we do what we do best, sing happy birthday really loudly and embarrass our favourite male companion ever more so. Demos had his eye on the Tiramisu and was not silly enough to blurt out "IT'S NOT MY BIRTHDAY!". The gesture was truly out of the blue and unexpected but it left us all in stitches! Overall, it was a great dinner at Uccello, an elegant Italian meal at an equally elegant venue. Happy Birthday Demos ;)