Sunday, August 21, 2011

Criniti's @ Darling Harbour

It had been a while since I've seen my uni friends because I'm currently taking a research year. 'Sleeping in' has lost its definition for me and I felt like I've become very lazy. I missed the routine life of uni and of course, my dear friends so I organised a dinner at Criniti's. I've heard so much about their 1 m pizza but haven't tried it yet and wondered if the taste matched its popularity.

The decor was quite a mix between retro and traditional Italian with motorcycles, footballs, and dark wooden furniture. It worked well and the dim lighting accentuated the panorama of Darling Harbour. Who doesn't love Darling Harbour at night?

They have buttons for service as well as the bill. It did take them around 10 minutes to answer to our calls but it was convenient and allowed us to continue with our conversations without having to wave our hands around for attention.

This egg light served as a prop in many of our photos. This little thing illuminated the entire table but it was still dark to see the menu properly. Lucky we were seated right in front of the ovens and the fire.

The restaurant was packed and even past 9 30, there was a long line of people waiting at the front. We were told we could choose 3 toppings for the 1 m pizza and for our friends with religious restrictions, we ordered the Godfather (chicken and avocado), Guardavelle (salami), and the Ortolana (vegetarian) to give a bit of variety. The 1 m pizza had a 45 minute wait and we were too hungry to just sit and wait. We ordered a Margherita and wedges as starters.

The Margherita came out really quickly, almost within 10 minutes of ordering. Slices of buffalo mozzarella and basil were scattered on the pizza. I could almost imagine the chefs throwing the ingredients onto the pizza in that slick dexterous manner. The flavour was ok, no particular wow factor about it. The crust was fluffy and light, and was very chewy. It could have been better with a bigger diameter of the sauce and cheese and less crust. I think I would rather the cheesy Secret Slice Margherita over this one.

Ooh the wedges! Patate fritte as they call it. I couldn't help but take photos of this wooden tub with its specially made hole for the sweet chili/sour cream bowl. The wedges were crunchy, beautifully salted with chicken salt, and the potato cooked to perfection. I hate it when I get wedges that still taste like raw potato. These wedges however, was perfect. The coating was just the right amount of thickness so you still get the saltiness with the lovely potato inside. I would go back just for these.

The arrival of the 1 m pizza was a moment of excitement and rapture. We saw the huge thing sitting on top of the oven bench, waiting to be delivered straight into our mouths. When the waitstaff picked it up, we all exchanged happy glances and followed the pizza as it made its way to our table.

The pizza was indeed humongous, served on a large wooden platter. It was cut into square pieces for us and the different toppings divided the pizza into 3 equal sections. I was seated in the middle so every part of the pizza was easily accessible. I was so excited to finally try this famous 1 m pizza.

By this time, I was already full from the starters. I kept reaching out for the wedges even though I knew I should save my stomach for the main meal. I regretted it as I took my first bite as I knew my stomach could not take too much. I couldn't have the Ortolana which seemed the best out of the three.

The Godfather was nice but there weren't many chicken pieces there. Large slices of avocado made the pizza very colourful against the backdrop of white and red. The Guardavelle wasn't as nice as I thought it would be. The salami didn't seem to have enough flavour and the pizza was quite boring compared to the other ones. The Ortolana, our vegetarian pizza, was the one that I sadly couldn't try. There were a lot of veggies grilled into the cheesy layer, so Italian with the capsicum, mushroom, eggplant and olives.

We finished everything between the 8 of us, a big thanks to the guys. Overall, the food was alright but not spectacular. If I craved a pizza, Criniti's wouldn't be the first place to pop in my mind but on a weekend night or with a large group I think it is an ideal place just because of the mood. I wanted to try their extensive cocktail list. Some were group drinks, served in kegs, boats, and other cool vessels. The food though, well it wasn't worth the price.

Criniti’s Ristorante Darling Harbour on Urbanspoon

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