The swanky Ivy precinct on Sydney’s bustling George Street is home to a vibrant food scene with a number of bars, cafes and restaurants starting at laneway level and heading upwards. There’s an emphasis on style, indeed the Italian restaurant Uccello abuts the Ivy swimming pool which, in the more temperate months, is jam-packed with bright young things. One has to wonder – are they there for the food?

Greedy Girl has dined at Uccello three times now, the first a couple of years ago not long after its establishment, then just before Christmas 2012 and, most recently, on a sunny Monday lunchtime. The first experience was perfectly pleasant. The second, on an incredibly busy Wednesday lunch just before Christmas, was excellent. The third was, quite frankly, a bit sad.

Things started well this particular Monday. A table of three girls, we were shown to a table directly overlooking the pool. The sun was bright, but not glaring, and the weather warm rather than stiflingly hot. We ordered sparkling water and perused the menu.

We started with a selection of bread – some salty, tomato infused focaccia with a mound of buffalo mozzarella and mixed crostini (pictured above) featured three slices of grilled sourdough with different toppings – white bean and tomato, goats cheese and prosciutto. The focaccia was nicely flavoured but there was way too much mozzarella. The crostini was OK. The bread was rather too charred for my tastes and the toppings were enjoyable if not exactly an explosion of flavour.

On to mains. Greedy Girl chose gnocchi with truffled pecorino. It tasted a lot better than it looked although it quickly became a bit heavy on the palate.

Another choice was a Scotch fillet steak, ordered medium, with a salad that consisted of some uninspired-looking leaves liberally drizzled with balsamic vinegar and oil. A common issue with this cut of steak is that it is usually criss-crossed with veins of fat but this dish was virtually inedible. Tough as a spare tyre, in fact, and decidedly overcooked.

The third choice was by a friend who hasn’t read the book that transformed Anthony Bourdain from mere NYC cook to international foodie superstar, Kitchen Confidential. One of his maxims was: don’t order fish on a Monday because the chances are in many restaurants that it’s unlikely to be fresh. Read the book. He embellishes this sentiment in a rather amusing away. She ordered the pan-fried John Dory with cherry tomatoes. Despite being served with a considerable amount of sauce and juicy tomatoes, the fish was very dry. It may well have been freshly sourced that day from the fish market (Sydney being a major seafood town) but it didn’t taste that way. Like the steak, most of the plate went back to the kitchen.

One of our party had a deadline to be back at work. When queried about most of the steak remaining uneaten, the waiter generously offered to provide a free dessert with her coffee. After communicating she was time poor, he confidently stated the dessert and her coffee would be with her with room to spare. The dessert (unordered) arrived but the coffee (desired) didn’t.

It wasn’t a wonderful experience and there seemed to be no rhyme or reason as to what would cause such a sad result. The previous visit, on an enormously busy day before Christmas had been excellent – Greedy Girl wishes she’d taken notes to be able to provide details of dishes that were quite delicious.

It’s the trap about blogging. For the most part you can only speak of one experience and the quality of food is definitely in the eye of the diner. It’s no less valid, however, for being one-time-only. Greedy Girl, having been three times to Uccello considers it to have multiple personalities and the view, the face it presented on this particular day, was far from beautiful. A disappointing day.


Level 4 Ivy, 320 George Street, Sydney
Uccello Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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