A’Mare at the Crown in Sydney is a beautiful restaurant with great wine choices, excellent dessert, but a hit or miss menu.
Rocking up to the Crown the other day was interesting. It felt empty, unfinished, or better yet, unfulfilled. This is likely due to the many, many issues and controversy’s surrounding the building’s construction and casino license. So, in a way, it made me laugh. I don’t feel sorry that the building has been a colossal waste of time and money while also looking like a phallus, but I do wonder how everything else has been faring at the Crown. Just because there’s no casino, that doesn’t mean there isn’t anything there.
What were these prospective high rollers going to eat, after all? There were several restaurant options but a’Mare is the place you choose to spend too much money on Italian food.
I want to start with the positives as there are many. The service was fantastic, no complaints there at all, except maybe a long wait time before someone took our order. Once our order had been taken, we felt we were in good hands. The staff provided excellent suggestions for pairings and brought the food out in a timely fashion. No complaints.
Sticking to the good stuff, our drinks. Casey ordered the Premium Amaretto Sour and thought it was easily one of the best she ever had. She really enjoyed the added cinnamon on top as well. I ordered Le Salette Valpolicella Classico, Veneto, which is a beautiful Corvina blend that was simply delicious. I don’t know enough about wine to really get into it and explain the palette and so on, but it quite simply tasted good. Drinks were top notch.
Casey and I decided that we would share an entrée and so decided on the Vitello Tonnato which is veal tenderloin, tuna mayonnaise, baby capers, and pine nuts. It was pretty delicious. The veal was okay, but the tuna mayonnaise was really something else. I don’t think I’d ever quite tasted something like that before and normally wouldn’t go anywhere near something with a name like tune mayonnaise but I’m glad I tried it. Overall, it was an interesting dish that I enjoyed but probably won’t order again and Casey felt very similarly.
Onto the mains. I ordered the Cavatelli alla Bolognese which had fresh semolina cavatelli and hand cut, slow cooked wagyu Bolognese ragout. Honestly, it was fine. But to be honest, I didn’t come to a’Mare for fine, I came for fine dining. I’ve had better ragouts and Bolognese at family functions if I’m being completely honest.
Casey, however, loved her Cappelletti filled with pecorino, mortadella cream, pistachio, and lemon. The pistachio crumb she thought was a beautiful touch to the creamy sauce which itself was incredibly light and fluffy that melted away as soon as it hit her mouth. The pasta itself provided a similar experience.
I was a little disappointed after all my main, but dessert almost put it out of my mind. It was a simple dessert, espresso and tiramisu – and it was amazing. The coffee was beautiful and the tiramisu was divine! Probably my favourite part of the meal.
We left ultimately feeling satisfied, but it wasn’t until later that evening that I thought about it some more and realised that I was simply disappointed with my main course. This alone likely isn’t an accurate reflection of the restaurant as a whole as Casey loved her main. I would have to revisit a’Mare to discover if this is true or if I simply don’t think that their food is worth the asking price.
A’Mare Sydney was a fun fine dining experience that is quite pricey. Is that price justified? In some respects, yes, and some others, no. The service was phenomenal, the drinks menu was fantastic, but the food can be hit or miss depending on what you pick from the menu. Save a’Mare for a special occasion and avoid the cavatelli if you want to keep it special.
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