Buon Ricordo, Sydney

Posted on October 10, 2009 by Aun

There are a small handful of dishes, cooked by an equally small number of amazing chefs, that I’d travel for. At the top of my list is Chef Armando Percuoco‘s fettuccine al tartufovo. Chef Armando’s fettucine with cream and parmesan, topped with a fried truffle egg, and tossed at your table, is one of those life-altering dishes. To me, it might just be the best pasta dish I’ve ever had, anywhere in the world. This ridiculously simple yet rich and oh so delicious plate of food is, quite simply, worth flying all the way to Sydney for.

Of course, there are many other gustatory reasons to go to Sydney–like Kylie’s duck, Tets’ ocean trout, Bill’s scrambled eggs, Peter Gilmore’s Sea Pearls, or this week the Sydney International Food Festival’s World Chef Showcase. But none (to me) are as addictively appealing as Armando’s truffled egg pasta. I’ve actually written about this heavenly plate of food back in 2005; in fact, it was my 10th post. But that was just a little reminiscent musing. This weekend, thanks to Tourism Australia, Tourism New South Wales and the Food Festival bringing me in for a little song and dance on stage, I’m getting the chance to revisit some favourite restaurants, as well as try a few new ones. Of course, the first place I ran to, within hours of landing on the ground, was Buon Ricordo.

Armando’s Italian restaurant is a real Sydney institution. It first opened in 1987 and has been a must-visit for foodies from all over the world ever since. The restaurant itself is housed in a charming townhouse in Paddington. There are two dining rooms spread out across two floors. The lower level is more casual and homey. The upstairs room is more chic, its walls displaying a veritable treasure trove of paintings by some of Australia’s top artists. Small statues adorn each of the tables on this second level.

The food is refined Neapolitan comfort food. It’s both brilliantly-executed and very well thought out. The day we visited, it was really nice to see that Antonio and his partner Gemma recognized a majority of the customers, greeting them by name and joking with them. That kind of warm greeting is what turns diners into regulars, encouraging them to return again and again.

S and I started our meal with a plate of antipasti, of which the lightly battered and fried zucchini flowers were the star. For our next course, I, of course, had truffled egg fettucini. S had a plate of the sweetest, most beautiful, fried gamberetti (small shrimp). My fettucine, as I had expected, was gorgeous, and as good as I had remembered. I also had the pleasure of having Chef Armando “toss” mine for me personally. While he was doing that, we had a quick chat about what has become his signature dish.

Armando had an interesting point to make. He told me that in a chef’s career, one rarely creates a truly innovative or unique dish. Most dishes, he rationalized, are really just tweaks of age-old recipes. Some will try their hardest to constantly innovate dozens of “new” creations, but will ultimately fail. To him, he said, a great chef is one that can create and can be remembered for one truely great and original dish. Tetsuya’s ocean trout is such a dish, he told me. He further declared, “When I created this fettucine dish, I knew I could really call myself a chef.”

For my main course, I had a lovely 300 day aged steak, served with braised shallots and a balsamic reduction. S had a beautiful Timballo. We were both thrilled by how Armando had been able to take a heavy 18th Century pasta pie and transform it into a lighter, more modern plate of stuffed cannelloni with hardboiled egg, diced ham, green peas, and a fresh tomato sauce.

Unfortunately, because we had to rush off to a meeting, we had no time for dessert. But that just gives me yet another reason to return as soon as possible.

Buon Ricordo
108 Boundary St,
Paddington, Sydney
Australia
Tel: (02) 9360 6729
Fax: (02) 9380 8955

About Aun Koh

Aun has always loved food and travel, passions passed down to him from his parents. This foundation, plus a background in media, pushed him to start Chubby Hubby in 2005. He loves that this site allows him to write about the things he adores--food, style, travel, his wife and his bouncing baby boy!

What Others Are Saying

  1. Danielle October 11, 2009 at 1:50 am

    The simplest dishes always make the most satisfying meals and Italian food always hits the spot! Love your pictures too – I suppose you had a seat close to the window?

  2. Yii Zhu October 12, 2009 at 6:49 am

    your job seems like a true dream job to me. i wish i was as daring as you to step into the food industry but oh well, i’m on my way to becoming a lawyer. thanks for reminding me how wonderful food is.

  3. Edward October 12, 2009 at 10:21 am

    I amke it a point to dine in B R when I am in Sydney. They have, when in season, a large fig wrapped in proscuito and baked with gorgonzola which I think just about edges out the fettuccine which I will always eat anyway!

  4. Shan October 12, 2009 at 4:49 pm

    i remember the first time I had THE dish – that first mouthful….thought I’d died and gone to heaven!

  5. Trissa October 12, 2009 at 6:13 pm

    I love that dish at Buon Ricordo – I once ordered a main portion and the waiter insisted that I should only have the entree because it was so rich… I said no way! Give me the main size and I finished every little bit of it.
    Did you manage to get his new cook book? The recipes are amazing!
    Hope you enjoyed your Sydney stay!

  6. Hershey October 12, 2009 at 8:29 pm

    300 day aged steak? wow, it’s like cheese already :))

  7. r October 14, 2009 at 7:21 am

    I love Buon Ricordo! As a Sydneysider I’m excited to see where else you’ll be dining/lunching/breakfasting. Also have seen you featured in various sydney blog roundups – nice work!

  8. Stephanie October 14, 2009 at 10:36 am

    Aun, Great to meet you on stage in Sydney… ashamed to say I have never been to Buon Ricordo. Having read this post, that is going to change very soon!
    best
    Stephanie

  9. Darren October 14, 2009 at 6:41 pm

    Like your blog and have been meaning to take my 13yr old foodie daughter to BR as she is at boarding school nearby, however if you seriously think Bill’s scrambled eggs are worth mentioning, you need to eat breakfast out more, too wet, too runny. As a former breakfast cook I would be hapy to debate this point anytime. Cheers :)

  10. missfattyfoodie October 16, 2009 at 1:11 am

    great post! i always use one of Armando’s simple recipe that i saw on tv last time, its the simpler version of the pasta u mentioned. just pasta tossed with cream, cheese and topped with an egg. YUMMY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  11. Mel @ bouchonfor2.com October 16, 2009 at 4:36 am

    Looks like spinning gold into threads…

  12. Shandy October 19, 2009 at 8:51 am

    Amazingly beautiful food! I can only imagine how wonderful the flavors are but your photos certainly take in the beauty of the dish.

  13. ProofPudding October 21, 2009 at 7:37 am

    The pasta dish you mentioned sounded delightfully rich and velvety! I feel as though I’d like to travel to try it.

    I agree that simple is usually a good rule of thumb… If you’ve ever had the displeasure of watching a chef add fifteen ingredients to a piece of fish and then smoke it with two different pieces of wood on a grill and then top it with five more ingredients…Well…you know what I mean…Not eatable at all! Simple is better!

    Great photos and blog – thanks!

    Being a chef myself, I appreciate others doing some of the work for me (like your blog – education!) :) I usually go online for things like wine pairings (a good site if you click my name to help with that), companies that keep me up to date on health board standards, etc. Simple!

    I’ve added you to my blogroll!
    Thanks,
    Tressa

  14. joey@FoodiePop November 16, 2009 at 5:26 am

    Their truffled egg pasta is so amazing! Probably the richest dish I’ve ever eaten outside of a dessert ….

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