Tuesday, May 5, 2015


It's a sad goodbye to the famous Billy Kwong but a happy and frantically-waving hello to Besser - a new Italian eatery opened up by the same team from A Tavola in Darlinghurst.  It has only been open for two weeks but it's definitely gaining traction as the new place to be on Crown Street in Surry Hills.  Since it is literally across the street from my home church, I didn't really have any excuse not to try it out.

My fellow eating companion and I walked in on Sunday afternoon and were seated at the window.  It's always a bit weird to be sitting in front of the window.  I always try to tell myself that everyone walking past is not staring at me as I try to maintain some dignity while scoffing down my delicious meal when deep down I know that, yes...they are. 

Inside is tastefully decorated with all sorts of yellows and blues popping out against the white interior, while the open kitchen and all its glorious food-making noise provide a slightly noisy background.  The waiter makes it clear that "all dishes are made to share" and there is a very extensive wine list which features their standout feature: wine on tap

Yesterday's Garlic Bread: $4.00

Yes, that is what it says on the menu.  Yesterday's garlic bread.  Judging by the delicious softness of the bread though, it definitely didn't taste like it was overnight bread.  It comes out in a paper bag just like the above - an interesting concept and I guess it also saves on washing up time? The two fingers are generously slathered in garlic butter and herbs with a fresh tomato and cheese dip as an accompaniment.  I recommend you try the bread without the tomato sauce in the beginning since it's full of flavour by itself already.

Polenta Dolce Latte Raddichio: $14.00
Having only tried polenta once before (and not exactly impressed by all the hype), it was the combination of dolce and latte which lured us in.  The most surprising part of the dish was the inclusion of blue cheese which was hidden among the beautifully golden polenta.  If you're only a fence-sitter on the blue cheese wagon, I wouldn't recommend this for you.  The flavour is quite strong but to its credit, doesn't overpower the dish entirely.  The red cabbage is deliciously sweet and provides for a good textural contrast to the smooth, melty polenta.  This polenta was very different to the one I had tried previously and has nudged me a bit further into the yes-polenta-is-amazing camp.

Mushroom Tagliatelle: $22.00
For an establishment that boasts hand-made pasta, you can't not order the hand made pasta.  Cooked to al dente perfection and coated in a beautifully flavoursome mushroom sauce, the size of the dish is a good size if you're sharing between two or for a main by itself.  There were surprising additions of small chillis which simply lifted the dish rather than heating it up and the mushrooms were nicely juicy and plentiful.

Definitely a must-try-again sort of place, especially with larger groups.  Prices are a little on the steeper side but average for any tapas restaurant. Their drinks list really is quite extensive so people who enjoy a glass of wine or four during a meal would enjoy the range.  The service was prompt but not rushed and it's always interesting to be able to watch the chefs at work.  Which we were unfortunately unable to do.

Besser on Urbanspoon

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