Cipri Italian welcomes you in with its comforting Italian classics in Paddington.
Walk too quickly down Elizabeth Street in Paddington and you will miss Cipri Italian. Find it though and the promise of delicious and decadent pasta is enough to make any lover of Italian cuisine excited.
Upon entry, you’ll be soon greeted by Cipri’s cosy interior, complete with pristine white tablecloths and impeccably dressed waiters with warm smiles. Here, the intimate dining room is buzzing. You get the feeling of real and authentic Italian hospitality as soon as you sit down. As for the aromas coming from the kitchen, well they’re enough to make any tummy twinge in anticipation.
This classic Italian trattoria is owned by three brothers – Joe, Anthony and Carmelo Cipri. Joe and Anthony can be found managing the front of house, while Head Chef Carmelo runs the kitchen. You can’t get much closer to family style hospitality than that.
After studying the menu, you’ll be faced with a huge challenge of not ordering every single thing on it. Everything sounds divine with a focus on quality fresh and traditional ingredients. All the pasta is made in house which is a huge added bonus.
We started with some cod croquettes with lime and chive aioli ($5 each). They made for delicious little bite-sized crispy snacks to keep you going until the entrees arrived.
On the starters menu, you’ll find highlights such as grilled calamari ($23) and crumbed eggplant ($22). The calamari is cooked to perfection in a crispy breadcrumb that has more of a bite to it that your typical fried calamari. Teamed with preserved lemon, the delicate notes of sweet, sour and salty play against each other well. An interesting element of the dish is also its garnish. What you’ll find are dried whole herbs (and certainly not the kind you find on some supermarket shelves!). These are house dried and give the dish a lovely contrast of colours.
As for the crumbed eggplant, it’s both earthy and rich. Filled with fior di latte, it’s pure cheesy goodness and the beautiful tomato sauce it’s served on is perfect to mop up the chunks of crispy eggplant.
Next up was our pastas. I ordered the buckwheat strozzapretti with asparagus, mushrooms, buffalo mozzarella and truffled pangrattato, which is a type of breadcrumb. The entrée size was quite generous, although if you arrive with a hefty appetite you could easily polish off a main serving. The real winner in the pastas however, was their classic – thyme papardelle ($27/$35) with slow braised duck and swiss brown mushroom ragu. Silky and succulent, this was filling and moreish.
One of the stand out dishes was actually a side – roast cauliflower with burnt butter and sage, teamed with salt cured egg, ricotta salata and almond. The cauliflower cooked in the sage butter caused it to caramelise, making it heavenly! The addition of salted egg and cheese on top was pure genius.
For dessert, we shared the sesame cannelloni with nougat semifreddo, salted caramel, chocolate soil and orange blossom fairy floss ($16). This was presented beautifully and is a real treat for anyone with a sweet tooth. For those not keen on anything too sweet, opt for the Pistachio panna cotta with panettone gelato, cocoa nibs and raspberry macaroons ($16).
There is a great selection of both Australian and Italian wines starting from about $60/bottle. We opted for a bottle of Montepulciano that accompanied our food all too well.
Cipri Italian is a great date night restaurant. It is somewhere to go when you want some rich, authentic Italian cooking with fresh and simple ingredients. You may have walked past this hidden Paddington gem before, but upon discovering Cipri Italian, no doubt you will go back time and time again.
10 Elizabeth St, Paddington NSW
P: 9331 3333
For more information, you can check out Cipri Italian’s website here
Open 7 nights and lunch on Thursday, Friday and Sunday