Dylan and I were recently offered to sample a new deal from the group buying website Ouffer. The deal was for lunch for two at Cala Luna in Mosman. We live quite far away from Mosman (then again we live quite far away from most places!) but having heard good things about the restaurant we thought it would make for a nice Saturday lunch outing.
Headed up by Michel Rossetti, Cala Luna has been around since 1997 and appears to have quite a good reputation around town. Michel and the team are clearly passionate about fresh produce and great quality food. Their menu is seasonal, many items are described as ‘house made’ and they source a lot of ingredients from the Rossetti family farm in Sutton Forest on the Southern Highlands in NSW. Diners are welcomed into the restaurant with a cheery hello like old friends, it’s a comforting place.
Perusing the menu I’d probably classify Cala Luna as somewhere between an Italian restaurant and a café, with everything from bacon and egg rolls to burgers and the more traditional fare of antipasto, home made pasta, main meals and sumptuous sounding desserts. Located at The Spit in Mosman, the restaurant seems to get a substantial amount of through traffic for takeaway orders of coffee and hot food. And the stream of locals popping in didn’t stop throughout the afternoon – it’s clearly a popular spot.
- Antipasto plate to share
- Any two pasta dishes
- Plus two glasses of wine
I must admit I was quite surprised to be advised the antipasto plate would include seafood. I am more accustomed to antipasto platters full of various cured meats, olives and other marinated goodies. Yet having just come indoors from a rather windy day I was rather looking forward to some hot little morsels to warm me up so there were no complaints from me.
The arancini ball was super crispy to the point where I was convinced it was going to go flying across the room when I tried to cut it – after all I am rather uncoordinated. But somehow I managed to keep it on the plate and cut through the crispy crumb outer to discover surprisingly soft innards of tuna, mashed potato and herbs. While the baby calamari (calamaretti) didn’t particularly photograph well I’ve got to say looks can be deceiving. A light coating of flour and super fresh squid resulted in tender calamari with no stringy or rubbery bits in sight. Props to the chef for a nice amount of seasoning, these little bites were perfect and I could have eaten a whole plate of them all to myself. I left the cured meat until last as I wanted to demolish the hot food first. But when I got to the salami I was not disappointed. Super fresh with the perfect amount of fat content, it was melt in the mouth quality. An all round nice way to start our meal.
Tagliatelle with Balmain bugs and zesty butter sauce.
Dining so close to the water I couldn’t go past the special of Balmain bugs with my favourite pasta, tagliatelle. The mountain of pasta smelt absolutely amazing and as soon as the photos were snapped I was straight into it. The freshly made pasta was cooked to perfect al dente-ness and silky smooth. I loved that the Balmain bugs were shell free and there was quite a generous amount of them throughout the dish. They were nice and plump, the meat firm and sweet.
Butter sauces can tend to be quite heavy but with the right amount of lemon zest and a nice squeeze of fresh lemon the acidity really cut through the richness. The result was a gorgeous pasta dish that was rich yet still rather light with the bugs and lemon.
Spring brings with it a nice change to our drinking pattern as white wine starts reappearing in the mix. I went with the waiter’s recommendation of a Semillon Sauvignon Blanc to go with my pasta (a 2006 Fat Tree Semillon Sauvignon Blanc from Orange, NSW). An easy drinking fruity blend with crisp clean acidity. Not too shabby at all.
Spaghettoni alla granseola – angel hair spaghetti, fresh Queensland spanner crab, zucchini, chilli and garlic.
Dylan also went with a seafood based pasta dish with his choice of the spanner crab. Another mountain of pasta, the serving sizes are definitely generous. Dylan added a liberal amount of lemon juice at the recommendation of the waiter which was perfect. Similar to my dish there was a lot of crab meat flaked throughout with a really lovely seafoody flavour. The lemony sauce was quite light, the zucchini a nice touch but the chilli lacked any heat which Dylan thought a shame as it would have really taken the dish up a notch. I found his pasta quite light and perfect for spring.
We both ordered our usual macchiatos to finish and can now see why so many passersby stop in for the takeaway coffee, it’s good!
Gelato Spazzacamino – vanilla gelato, scotch, espresso grounds ($12.00).
I really really wanted dessert… I do every time we dine out. But as always after the mains we were bursting. Yet my sweet tooth was calling out to me and somehow I managed to convince Dylan to share a dessert with me. I even chose the very Dylan style dessert to help convince him. The waitress actually looked at me in shock when I ordered this, maybe it’s not a common choice among female diners? Oh well, I like scotch, but I usually drown it in dry ginger ale (much to Dylan’s dismay).
The spazzacamino was similar to an affogato but came with two of Dylan’s favourite things – a shot of scotch and sprinkling of espresso grounds. The gelato was creamy but not as vanilla-y as I like, but when combined with the espresso grounds it was utterly delectable. I actually preferred drinking the Glenfiddich on its own as I didn’t want it to interrupt the creamy-coffee goodness. It was nice to see they had a decent quality scotch too, Dylan was suitably impressed. Oh and I googled ‘spazzacamino’ as I’ve not heard of it before and guess what the translation is? Chimney sweep! Little grains of espresso dirt, love it!
We were offered either limoncello (lemon liqueur) or arancello (orange liqueur) to finish our meal and we both stuck with the traditional lemon version. Limoncello is not a digestive I normally order, but usually have some when we’re dining at one of our favourites, buzo. I’m clearly no limoncello expert but I found this one a bit too alcoholic and prefer the sweeter versions. Massive fail with the liqueur disappearing before we took a photo, oops.
For $49.00 the deal included antipasto, two massive bowls of pasta, a glass of wine and a limoncello each. Great value and delicious food. The decor was rather dated but we’re told the restaurant is relocating down to the waterfront in a few weeks time, so I’d be keen to check out the new fit out. Overall, the waitstaff were friendly and attentive and the atmosphere was buzzing with a large group of about 40 people in the restaurant at the same time. The only downside of the large group was the timing – when we were ready to pay our bill the large group’s mains were being served and we had a little wait before we were attended to. We wouldn’t normally mind the wait, but there was a small situation of an unfamiliar location, an expired parking ticket and fear of the dreaded parking police. Luckily it all worked out in the end. Now I just need to get back to try some of their grass fed Rossetti family farm beef!
Thanks to Amanda and the team at Ouffer, Michel Rossetti and Cala Luna restaurant.
A Food Story dined at Cala Luna courtesy of Amanda and the team at Ouffer.
235 Spit Road
Mosman NSW 2088
(02) 9968 2426
Cala Luna Website