Hello friends. Apologies for the brief absence, no excuses here - just be assured that I have missed you friends of the fridgers. Now lets get back to all things boozy, tasty and ridiculously good and forget about me going M.I.A. and slipping into a black hole of bleagh.
So here we go... Let me start with a confession. I dont consider myself as bonafide foodie; I don't fit the description of "Living, Breathing and OBSESSING over food" which is quite odd for a food blogger, no? The focus of this blog has always been about the experience - the good times and the fun times involving food. I've had a thinky thinky moment while I've neglected this blog and realised that although I do love a great meal; I'm more about the experience, the stories, the atmosphere... the fun, getting people together, the memories. Queue segway...
Good food experiences shared with a bunch of friends make for a great night out. Along with our friends Lu and E; Demos and I led the way to our venue for the evening. Bootleg was buzzing with the Potts Point crowd and was pretty busy for a school night - we were able to score a table in the back corner and get acquainted with a medium bodied bottle of Negroamaro. Such a thirst quencher on a balmy night and not too heavy to overpower the meal ahead. The lighly battered calamari ($17) could not be ignored on the menu. Light and crispy; we fought over the last few pieces and drowned them in lemon juice. Simple Pleasures really.
The arancini that came next were not your usual standard Italian fare ($10 2/pc). Topped with a tangy and almost relish like tomato sauce with some bitey provolone - it was a taste sensation; especially as we bit into the crunchy coating through to a treasure trove of more melted provolone.
Once inside and away from the hustle of Kings Cross, once can be forgiven when thinking about Bootleg as an escape. Framed photographs with scenes from a very hip circa 1990 New York era put a smile on my face as did the boomboxes and random religious statues. They could be channeling Harlem or Queens or Compton perhaps - without overdoing the kitsch factor and making it feel like an awkward themed Christmas party venue. Comfortable booths and tables line the walls and the neon lights above the bar give Bootleg a subdued liveliness..save the bright lighting for the Coca Cola sign around the corner.
It was a smart decision to order four mains and share it around family style. Bootleg has a really relaxed vibe, so eating feels more of a family friendly affair. After perusing through the menu it was tremendously difficult to decide on one dish. The Veal Lasagne ($26) dish had my name all over it - fluffy ricotta and a rich tomato sauce to make momma's mouth water. The grated parmesan streaking through the lasagne sheets as it melted gave the dish a salty lift. The only difference I found with having veal and ricotta is that the dish was lighter compared to its traditional beef and béchamel based lasagne counterpart.
Maybe sharing was not a great idea afterall. Since I had to share my lasagne, I was able to have my fair share of the Fusili with Sage, Mushrooms, Cream and Truffle ($27) - a magical mix indeed. The fusili pasta was cooked al dente giving it a nice bite, especially as the sauce gets soaked into the crevices. The sauce is not creamy at all and the smell of the truffle and cheese can lure you into a daze.
The dish that was not the prettiest to photograph but was one of the favourites in the evening was the nights special - Squid Ink linguini with grilled prawns and a lemon and chilli based sauce. With a generous serve of prawns and a pleasant hint of chilli there was plenty to love about this dish.Your eyes don't deceive you - that is a giant meatball. The Giant Pampeloni served with Spaghetti Pomodoro is the simplest of all dishes. So simple and so damn good.
The meatball is has a cheesey centre and tops a hearty bowl of pasta. That is a scene straight outta lady and the tramp with a dish to win the hearts of mongrels and mommas boys. Sometimes the simplest dishes can produce the most enjoyment and not too mention the awe when a giant meatball manifests.
After all that food - a momentarily rest was welcomed. Our very attentive waiter was there for moral support and encouraged us to call on our second stomach for dessert. And call we did.
The first dessert off the rank was the ricotta fritters - moorish and addictive; we were just about to order a second plate but to encourage variety we picked the second most tempting dessert.Enter the Banoffee tart($12.50)
Has anyone else forgotten what bananas taste like? It was an early Christmas as we got stuck into the tart which had a crunchy crust and was topped with a gooey caramel center and fresh banana slices. It was a cracker of a dessert and made everyone once again - fight for a bite.
Other than learning that sharing food can go either way our dinner at Bootleg Bar was quite a memorable one. It is unpretentious and mouthwatering Italian food that is simple and hearty for anyone that wants to take refuge from the insanity that is Kings Cross outside.A return visit is on the cards - not only was it a great meal, it was a pretty standout place to catch up with friends. Since this visit I have been back - catching up with friends from interstate and some other usual suspects. The place has plenty of heart and the food speaks for itself. Bootleg is a great backdrop to a fun night out and thats what keeps on coming back. Toodeloo and until next time.
Bootleg Bar and Italian Food - http://www.bootlegbar.com.au/
Open Tuesday to Sunday for Dinner and Saturday and Sunday for Brunch