At the end of our meal at ENTRATA in Glenhaven I said the following………. “this place just took the crown for my #1 venue of 2018.” It currently holds the title based on everything one considers in a restaurant review. Firstly food, then service, venue, even toilets. The technique in the food was only matched in excellence with the plating. The only letdown for me was the location – getting to Glenhaven from Manly is not a drive I wish to do regularly but I do have a reason now. I cannot recommend this marvellous Italian restaurant enough.
It takes about 75mins to get to Glenhaven from Manly. Good friend Onika drove us both to this one, in less than impressive traffic, while I stretched out with the seat reclined doing puzzles in a TAKE 5 magazine haha. If I had to drive I would have been a little grumpy by the time we arrived. But all negativity washed away when we got to ENTRATA. Arriving in the car park I thought we had arrived at a family’s large Italian Villa. The homestead itself looks like a giant family home and there were renovations taking place to one side but the sign over the doorway assured us we were in the right place.
When you enter you are greeted by an old door hanging inside with the name on it again, turning to the right you see the bar and the beginning of one HUGE rustic villa or hacienda designed interior. It feels old-world Italy with a splash of Spanish farmstead. Exposed bricks, lots of natural light, high ceilings, velvet furnishings and pendant lights, it’s totally adorable. All it needed was the open fireplace roaring and some horses wandering past the expansive windows looking over the outdoor dining area to make it complete. ENTRATA can seat 150, it is has two massive indoor dining areas and outside has an exposed, and a roofed, section. You could hold epic weddings and functions here, or you could come for a romantic breakfast, lunch or dinner for two.
It’s old world, old wood, old tiles and old charm, you will feel so comfortable in this place. It’s warm and homely and one would imagine Nonna bringing out the meals. We chose to sit in the roofed outdoor section purely for the best photo lighting options but you would be happy at any of the tables. They are all well spaced so even on busy packed-to-the-rafters evenings I cannot see myself feeling cramped or claustrophobic.
The menus are as expansive as the venue. They have a full bar and offer wonderful cocktails, wines and beers. We kicked off with an Ichnusa Unfiltered Italian beer which was refreshingly delicious and I am glad I got to try it. On my next visit I will be kicking off with one of their signature cocktails, the Miss Bergamotto sounds like heaven! Gin, early grey tea syrup, orange bitters, lemon juice, honey & egg white – NEED!! The wines are a great mix from Italy and Australia ranging in price with a brilliant selection by the glass. They also offer BYO (Tue, Wed and Thur ONLY) with full bar in operation for peak times. We downed a 2015 COLLEFRISO MONTEPULCIANO from Abruzzo, Italy, with our mains.
They open for breakfast on Sundays only and their breakfast menu is Italian through and through. If I was visiting for breakfast my go-to would be the SALMONE – smoked salmon, potato rice croquettes, poached egg, avocado, shaved radish, peaioli sauce, wedge of lemon and toasted pane di casa. But I would also be swayed by the COLAZIONE BRUSCHETTA – avocado, streaky bacon, Spanish onion, goats cheese, cherry tomato and drizzled with maple syrup. The maple syrup took my fancy on this one. They also have Nutella crepes which will keep the kids happy.
ENTRATA offers a simplified lunch menu Tuesday to Saturday and for Sunday lunch it is the full dinner menu. The smaller lunch menu during the week comes with the bonus option of two courses for $39-, definitely worth it. Throw in a glass of wine and you get a decadent Italian lunch for $50-.
The main menu is traditional Italian with a big slathering of modern. You might be tasting traditional but the plating and garnish is mostly new age, especially with the desserts, the chef is a master sugar spinner. Each dish is simple, seasonal, and crafted with love and skill in the kitchen. We did not fault one dish and most of them exceeded all expectations.
WHAT WE ORDERED:
RAVIOLI CON ANATRA (SPECIALS MENU) – house made ravioli filled with duck confit, duck cream sauce with pomegranate foam
WHAT WE THOUGHT: ENTREES AND MAINS:
- The scallops were tender, cooked to perfection and tasted a little earthy. Caponatina is usually made from eggplant and celery and seasoned with a sweet vinegar. The dried fruits and pine nuts cooked this way gave a somewhat woody sweetness that was a wonderful addition. This was Onika’s favourite dish.
- Zucchini flowers are one thing I will always order, I just can’t get enough of them. Filling them with ricotta, mozzarella and blue swimmer crab was a stroke of genius that will surely make tastebuds swoon.
- The rack of lamb was a perfect winter dish, the crust was so vibrant, the meat perfectly cooked to medium rare, the spuds crusty on the outside and fluffy on the insider and the little veggie stack held together with a sprig of rosemary was a small detail that made the dish and permeated that rosemary smell everyone loves. One of the best lamb dishes I have eaten.
- The duck ravioli was my favourite dish. So subtle, so nuanced and ever so flavoursome. The vibrancy of the pomegranate foam was marvellous and the technique in the pasta and the foam was Chef’s Hat worthy, absolute perfection on a plate.
WHAT WE THOUGHT: DESSERTS:
I swear I am not a total food pig – I wanted to have the Affogato and the Cheesecake for Onika and I to share but the venue requested some pics for the Chocolate and Pear Cake and the Tiramisu so they made a compromise and brought us all four haha. We somehow managed to force them all in.
Firstly, I would never order a tiramisu, to me it is so stock-standard and will mostly be average. That being said, it was both of our favourite dessert. It was unique in it’s presentation and creation. The balance of the ladyfingers, the mascarpone sauce and the cocoa was light and moreish, I never questioned what was in their creation but I have a little niggle there was some alcohol in there, or some crack, because it was so bloody addictive, I wanted another one!
The Goat’s Cheese Cake was also unique, it was bordering on Crème Caramel in its presentation, and was delightfully crumbly like a good goat’s cheese feta. The honey and pistachio added wonderful flavour and texture and the lemon curd was a favourite of mine. Lemon curd is heaven, I can lick it off the plate, which I may or may not have done.
Warm Chocolate and Pear Cake sounded, looked and also tasted delicious. By this stage of the feasting, as you may imagine, we were getting pretty full. This was nice but it was a little heavy for me coming to the end of the meal. But that spun sugar, just WOW!
And finally the Affogato, my go-to dessert. My love, the perfection of two after-dinner treats in one! We had our affogato with Nocello, an Italian liqueur made from walnuts and hazelnut, a little more earthy than Frangelico.
ENTRATA RESTAURANT and BAR has been the best surprise venue of 2018. A wonderful Italian oasis at Glenhaven that has technical Italian food that honours the food’s history while redefining it in a modern world. Currently my favourite food of 2018, it will take a lot to beat this place. It’s time for a road trip people!!
SCORE BREAKDOWN: 3/3 food, 2/2 service, 1/1 drinks, 1/1 venue & ambience, 1/1 cost, 1/1 toilets and 1/1 bonus
ENTRATA RESTAURANT AND BAR DEETS:
PH: 02 9899 5608
143 Glenhaven Rd, Glenhaven NSW 2156
PRICING: The rib eye is the most expensive dish at $48.90
Breakfast: Sun: 830 – 11am
Lunch: Tue to Sat: 1130am – 230pm &Sun from 12pm
Dinner: Tue to Sun: 530pm till late
LOCAL DELIVERY: No
VEGETARIAN OPTIONS: Yes – minimal
GLUTEN FREE OPTIONS: Yes – minimal
KID FRIENDLY: Yes
*** Spooning Australia dined as Guests of Entrata Restaurant and Bar ***
For more reviews of Regional NSW Restaurants – check them out HERE