Friday, October 17, 2008

Pendolino At The Strand

Some managers are generous with the company's money, some managers are generous with their own money, and then some are generous with neither. I've encountered all of the above in my 15-year career.

A couple of months ago, G's manager gave him a $150 budget to take me out to a nice dinner on the company's expense. Now, isn't that a really sweet gesture? Rewarding an employee by extending it to the employee's partner, will endear him to me, no doubt. Especially when the gesture involves a good meal.

So we had a quick discussion as to where we should go and decided on Pendolino, an Italian restaurant in the city, in a lovely Victorian building, well-known for its wide variety of olive oil used in its dishes.

The ambience was nice, the lights were low - in fact too low to take any decent pictures for this entry. In particular, I liked the shadow play on the wall where a wall lamp with a vine and floral sculptural feature made interesting patterns. The floor to ceiling shelf full of wine bottles forming a partition was also a practical yet aesthetic feature.

We were brought a couple different types of bread, a sourdough and an olive bread, for dipping into their famous olive oil. And for starters, we had oysters in 2 styles and a tuna carpaccio which was delicious and pretty to look at, with little flecks of green and dark brownish-red herb and veggies (species unknown) interspersed throughout.

I had the entree sized spaghetti with the barrumundi fillets and wild king prawns for my main, while G picked a pumpkin and some other veggie lasagne. As you can tell, I am not that interested in G's veggie dish, so apart from pumpkin, I can't remember what went into it. He was a little disappointed in his main, it had a caramelised sweet taste to it and a somewhat crusty base, and I too, felt it was a little strange to have a lasagne which is supposed to be normally savoury, turn out sweet - whether from the natural sweetness of the pumpkin or some sugar added. My spaghetti was yummy though. The prawns were super fresh and sweet and so was the fish. Eating freshly-made pasta just makes the thought of returning to eating dried pasta from a box such an unappealing option.

We shared a semifreddo for dessert, I liked the honeycomb sugar lattice that was stuck into the semifreddo. It wasn't a large portion but by then, it was just right for sharing.

And factoring in 3 glasses of wine, we did really well and the bill arrived at $144. So G put in a tip of $6 and brought the grand total to $150. This was a perfectly planned and calculated dinner, in more ways than 1!

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