This is a guest post from my good friend and newly appointed editor of Bad Table Manners, who has volunteered to provide this unbiased opinion of my favourite cafe, Bertoni Casalinga.
Situated just 50m from the hustle and bustle of Erskine St, along the often-forgotten Kent St, and sandwiched between two strikingly contrasting office buildings is Bertoni Casalinga. Most may have heard or read about Bertoni’s in Balmain (281 Darling St, Balmain), which makes its Sydney CBD branch its less famous sibling. Although it can get quite busy during the lunch time rush, most patrons are take aways; so for the eat ins, it is a fairly quiet spot, perfect for those times when you want to escape the lunch-time rat race and enjoy a sit-down meal that comes served to you in just minutes.
Upon entering the establishment, you are immediately hit with a sense of the place being quite ‘bold’. Funky-style handwriting chalked on backboards displaying the menu. To your right, a marble-finished counter with a metallic silver table-top. Bright lamps hang from a milk-white ceiling, in contrast to the burgundy wall on the left, where the coffee-brown sofa and plastic white seating is. There is a very sharp, ultra-modern and neo-Romanesque atmosphere to the place.
Aside from the snazzy interiors, my eyes were then drawn to the dazzling array of fresh, daily-made pastas and salads on display behind the glass cabinet. My eyes darted from dish to dish – it was hard to decide as they all looked very appetising. The man behind the counter, donned with a smart, black apron and with pen in hand (he means business!), sensing our hesitation to choose, greeted us politely, and offered a few welcome suggestions.
Whilst the salad dish I had was pleasing, the latte I ordered didn’t really hit the mark. On this point, I had high expectations of Bertoni’s as a place known for its coffee. But after tasting my first sip, the coffee taste sort of went…flat. It didn’t give me the ‘kick’ that a decent coffee is meant to give you. So although the latte was nice to have, it did not meet my expectations.
I would definitely give Bertoni’s another try for their coffee though, as it has all the other factors that makes a good café. In my opinion, it ticks all my boxes when it comes to tasty food, friendly service and great atmosphere. But the coffee – to be decided.