Beside the unassuming frontage of Greys Inn in Wollombi resides the Panino Caffe. It is most definitely the pearl in the oyster of this historic and quaint township which is situated near but not of the Hunter Valley.
Owned by the Giagu family who have honed their restauranting skills in some of Sydney's finest Italian restaurants, Panino offers a range of services from coffee, morning breakfasts and lunch with a fantastic fine dining experience in the evening.
We booked for dinner last Sunday night.Tabitha, our waiter, made us feel as if we were a part of the family with her relational, relaxed and VERY professional style.
For primi we shared a carpaccio with shaved parmesan and white truffle oil, the flavour and aroma were classic and a great example of this traditional dish. Next we shared a plate of figs wrapped with prosciutto and gorgonzola; a mouth watering experience indeed.
For secondi I had the braised pork knuckle with butter beans and tomato sriracciha which was slow cooked and then crackled up in the oven. It was moist, melted in your mouth and was full of crunchy flavour. My mother had the duck papardelle with porcini and white truffle oil she said it was delicious and I was so drawn to the aroma of the truffle oil I had to steal a taste. I agreed with her. My nephew had the linguine with prawns, cherry tomatoes, garlic, chilli and parsley. I was recommended this dish by a friend who said it was the best dish on the menu. Andrew said the prawns were very fresh and it was on the hot side. This was a complement as I know he loves his chilli.
The atmosphere of Panino is modern with Italian resonances. It is quite intimate and would be perfect for couples. I think the next time I visit Panino Caffe it will be with my partner. I was particularly impressed with the service. Tabitha, our waiter, had the knack of being present only when she was needed. We didn't have to remind her of anything nor did she dither around and seek our approval after every dish. I guess it was obvious we were enjoying ourselves and the food.
This is a professional and well oiled business hidden in the Wollombi Village. It is open for only three days a week so check the website or book.
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