We all know that finding an Italian restaurant in the suburbs is an easy feat, but if you're looking for bold, authentic flavours, many of these suburban outlets usually fall short.
This has all changed though, with the recent introduction of Albi's Table located in the Sutherland Shire's costal suburb of Cronulla. Nestled in Cronulla Mall, don't let its modest shopfront fool you - this is certainly worth checking out.
The interior at Albi's Table is warm and homely.
Step inside and immediately you're welcomed into the dimly-lit abode. Ceiling ornaments hang, as the rustic crimson walls create a warm, homely vibe. A long, wooden table - originally part of the Woolloomooloo wharf some 110 years ago - decorates one side of the restaurant, while the other side is occupied by smaller tables and benches.
The customer service here is authentic and impeccable, the waiter greets me immediately with a kiss on each cheek in true Italian style, introducing himself and the menu.
Albi's head chef and namesake, Albi Cuni, has more than 10 years experience having trained under Michelin star chefs across both Europe and in Australia. The minimalist menu is a reflection of his honed craft.
The perfect simple start to your meal.
We begin with two entrées; Nonna's meatballs ($11) and cheesy herb and garlic bread ($5pp). The service is speedy and soon enough our table is adorned with addictively cheesy bread, and bowls containing half a dozen small meatballs, sitting in a generous serving of Napolitana sauce and topped with a sprinkling of shredded parmesan. Two pieces of crusty bread add a crunch to the dish and are perfect for scooping the luscious sauce. The meatballs are smooth, tasty and have a melt-in-the-mouth feel.
Don't let the size fool you - Nonna's meatballs will fill you up.
The lasagne ($22) is a sure-fire hit. We receive an ample serving of the classic Italian dish, with its intricate layers of pasta sheets filled with beef and béchamel sauce, sitting in a rich tomato based sauce. The shredded parmesan makes a return, adding a distinct bite to the dish. This is a satisfying and flavoursome main, although a struggle to finish if you get over-zealous on the entrées.
A classic Italian favourite.
There's always room for dessert though and the dolci (sweets) menu is reasonably priced, with a variety of homemade options. The tiramisu, served with chocolate gelato ($12) is simply amazing. The spongey base combines with the cocoa-topped cream and gelato to create a bold mixture of textures and flavours.
This looks amazing and tastes even better!
Albi's Table is decently priced given its gourmet, high quality menu and the customer service is flawless. Definitely a must for those seeking an Italian experience beyond their usual chain restaurant.
Where: 10 Cronulla Street, Cronulla, 2230
Cost: Starters from $5 - $24. Mains from $22 - $32.
When: Dinner Tuesday - Friday from 5pm - 10pm. Lunch Saturday from noon - 10pm and Sunday from noon - 9.30pm.
Good for kids: Yes.
Take away: No.