Sometimes it’s hard to decide where to go to eat (some days are harder for some reason) and it took a couple of days, but Team QDIT finally settled on The Welcome Hotel in Rozelle. We realised we were in the mood for Italian and the menu sounded really delicious.
If we thought it was tough deciding where to eat, trying to work out what to order was even harder! There were way too many things we wanted to eat and not enough stomach space. Ugh! First world problems, indeed.
With the help of our lovely waitress, we managed to sort out our dishes and in the process, tickled our waitress pink when she discovered that we were sharing everything. Her reaction was super cute – she couldn’t stop giggling delightedly and telling us how awesome it was to see us sharing the dishes (her reaction to me taking photos was equally as cute).
We didn’t order this dish, it came complimentary from the kitchen to start us off.
It wasn’t what we were expecting (I was thinking whole olives and some crackers, to be honest) and I was so glad I was wrong.
The house-made crackers were delicately thin and super crisp; the perfect base for the sharp pecorino, salty olives, and sweet honey.
Admittedly, it was a little strange at first (the honey threw me a little amongst all that saltiness), but it quickly grew on me and I couldn’t stop chomping on them as we chatted.
I love table-side service – it’s like a mini show for your meal! – so this tortellini dish made me happy on many levels.
The slightly firm tortellini were filled with cured meats and swam in a wonderfully intense tomato consomme, further flavoured by the salty sea urchin bottarga.
These glorious pillow-soft potato gnocchi were served with prawns, peas, chives, and crunchy pangrattato.
I realised that you can’t see the prawns in this photo, but trust me when I say they’re just over that mound of squishy softness in all its prawn-y yumminess.
Another fantastic dish served up: I adored the balance of juicy sweetness from the peach, salty meatiness of the prosciutto, and creaminess of the burratina.
I don’t think I’ve ever had peaches with proscuitto and cheese before and I hope it won’t be the last!
Moving onto mains, the first dish was smoked duck breast and confit leg accompanied by Jerusalem artichoke, baby leek, and liquorice jus.
The duck was perfectly cooked and immensely decadent, its richness cut through by the lightly creamy artichoke puree and slightly sweet liquorice jus (which was also a lovely light flavour, unlike the cloying taste I’ve experienced with liquorice).
Oh man, if I thought the duck was decadent, this amazing slow-cooked pork cheek took it to the next level. The apple and celery puree was light and refreshing – a perfect counterpoint to the heaviness of the meat; the perfectly seasoned kale also helped to cut through the richness, while the olive crumbs added a gentle, slightly salty crunch to the dish.
While we loved both the duck and pork dishes, we were rather glad we were sharing – don’t think we could have handled all that meaty richness on one plate by ourselves.
The special of the day was a fantastic house-smoked pork hock, house-made tagliatelle dish.
It looks deceptively simple, but oh my, it was probably one of the better pasta dishes I’ve ever had (and I’ve had a lot!) – the meatiness of the smoked pork hock was not overpowering, it just mouth-watering right, leaving me wanting more despite starting to get rather full.
The dish sounded quite nice, but to be honest, we ordered it to “balance” an otherwise meat-heavy main course. While it was a wonderfully delectable dish with a perfect crisp sear, its bright spring vegetables, and perfectly seasoned mussels and spanner crab, it was overshadowed a bit by the much stronger flavours of the other dishes.
Of course we had to have sides; we ordered the shaved fennel, celery, pear, and bottarga salad ($9, which was my favourite of the two – so bright and refreshing!) and the chargrilled zucchini with orange, mint, and pecorino ($10).
Dang it. I forgot to write down what we had, but I do remember it being brilliantly vibrant and refreshing.
Fresh juicy berries and creamy mascarpone gelato accompanied this delightful vanilla ricotta and carrot torta.
This dish was a hit with the table, as it balanced all the delicate flavours so well; I’d say it’s the perfect dessert for those who doesn’t like theirs too sweet.
The Amedei chocolate mousse came with an intense passion fruit curd and sweet white chocolate crumble.
I adored just how rich the mousse was and how the acidity from the passion fruit curd scythes through the decadence; this dessert edged the others out as my favourite of the three, but only just (they were all so good!).
This has got to be the flattest pannacotta I have ever seen and eaten. In fact, with the strawberries (freeze-dried, dehydrated, and in gelee form) and rhubarb decorated just so, the dessert looked like a pizza to me! Hehe
The pannacotta was smooth and creamy – pretty much as perfect as a pannacotta can get – while the strawberries, regardless of form, were intense in flavour, punching the taste buds with its strawberry-ness. Amazing.
We were all actually pretty full as we ordered dessert, but this malted barley and whisky goat and cow cheese was too unusual for us to pass up.
It was quite a mild cheese and had a wonderful warming, complex flavour… And as unusual as I had expected. I loved the spread accompanying the cheese – they all worked with the cheese’s flavour in their own way.
Served with our respective teas and coffee were brandy snaps, almond biscuits, and meringues. My favourite were the meringues – soft, chewy clouds of sugary goodness!
The Welcome Hotel is nestled in the residential area of Rozelle, not far from the always busy Victoria Rd, and despite my fears, parking wasn’t too bad (I managed to park right in front!).
The staff are friendly and attentive, while the atmosphere is cosy with an old school charm.
We left The Welcome Hotel with full bellies and very satisfied appetites. I already can’t wait to go again!
The Welcome Hotel
91 Evans St
Rozelle, NSW, 2039
Ph: (02) 9810 1323