Graffiti Ristorante is a stylishly new Italian Restaurant that has opened up in The Arthouse Hotel (level 1) about five weeks ago now, as at the time of writing this.
The ambience is clever. You really feel welcome with the chocolate brown polished floorboards, and the painted walls reflect the exuberance and charm of this old school building - of which used to house the Sydney Mechanical School of Arts turned trendy bar and restaurant mecca.
All in all, I really like Graffiti Ristorante. The idea of creating fast food from scratch for a delightful after work feed is unique, clever and absolutely amazing. Pity the food did not live up to that high...well not at their launch party of which I was invited to attend and experience as part of the media.
Red wine lovers, you'll relish a glass of Bolla (2012) Merlot. Quite crisp, and was not overpowering with any of the canapes for starters. I particularly loved the music from Diva, an eclectic Italian band. Had no idea what songs were being played - it was all part of the ambience with amazing people, a couple of which I've recently become friends with.
Being welcomed with an alcoholic drink of choice accompanied the start of the food offerings. The taster for the food comprised of a savoury biscuit stick wrapped in prosciutto and dipped with hummus. Loved the meat, of which was authentic Italiano. None of the other elements of this dish phased me at all.
The zucchini flowers was otherwise a large canape to start with - the mother of all canapes making it's debut. Having tried such a dish at Spanish tapas bars, I must have come in trying one of these with super high expectations. The batter was more Japanese tempura style, but a bit too greasy. I've tried clean batter on authentic Japanese tempuras. The positives of this dish was the asparagus, and the cheese when you get to taste after a couple of bites.
Next up came the arancini balls to try. I'm not a real rice lover to begin with, yet this was a rather deliciously creamy treat. A subtle corn taste broke into my palette before tucking in to what was the dish of the day.
The winner in the food department definitely belonged to the bruschetta al pomodoro. The bread was served with the right textures, and the onions weren't overpowering. The latter vegetable also blended in beautifully with the rest of this little canape full of paradise, except the flavours did not debut for a second.
The main event beckoned, and naturally being an Italian restaurant - it was fitting and special to try some garlic bread. I loved the smell of this dish, yet this smell did not succumb to my taste buds; and yes I did not have any colds or flus while eating this food. I was completely healthy.
Now the formaggi pizza came next, and I was only in the mood for one slice. The mozzarella cheese was full on yet delicious. Not the most favourite pizza of all, yet it was still a-ok. Nothing to harp on about.
After the pizza tasting came an opportunity to try some of Graffiti Ristorante's chestnut salad. Although this salad dish exuded simple elegance, and was aesthetically pleasing; yet there was no taste or flavour - not even in a mushroom despite being fresh and attractive.
Finally, don't get me started on the pasta. I took a rain-check (due to being quite full) on the calamari, and on another dish that I can't remember the name of, yet gave the ravioli a chance. The mushrooms were great, but overall this was an incredibly salty dish. I needed plenty of water to drown out the saltiness in my palate. Luckily the staff were friendly and attentive; especially when it was time to top up our drinks.
I loved the sweet treats we got to take home, comprising of some biscotti and nougat - plain and chocolate. This was a beautiful touch to great hospitality. The food just needs a bit more work, and Graffiti Ristorante will be amazing.
Justine would like to thank The Arthouse Hotel and Sydney Food Lovers for this special writer invitation.
Where: The Arthouse Hotel, 275 Pitt Street Sydney NSW.
Why: Excellent staff and great ambience. Loved the free entertainment, as well as eating and socialising with awesome company.
Cost: N/A - this was a media invite.
When: Dinner - after work during the week is ideal.