You won’t find Allegra Dining unless you’re looking for it.
Tucked away in the back corner of a small cute complex on Danks Street it’s hidden from the street but walk a little deeper and you’ll strike gold at Allegra Dining. On most days, you’ll find this Italian restaurant on break during the day but the recent addition of their Sunday brunch menu means that you can now also enjoy coffee, eggs and other delicious food during daylight hours too.
But by brunch, don’t think of your typical busy Surry Hills style kind of brunch with long queues, short stools, small tables and crowded spaces- instead it’s a much more relaxed vibe, a spacious setting with plenty of natural light and if you’re lucky, a view of the (not for swimming) pool that sits in the middle of the complex. It’s an unexpectedly nice enclosed space, tastefully decked out with palm trees and cactus, and if cocktails by the pool are your thing, Allegra can do that too- they even have a breakfast cocktail menu!
But if boozy Sunday mornings are not so much your thing, there’s still plenty to choose from on their drinks menu that’s just as extensive as their food menu- with anything from coffees to frappes, shakes & fizzes, the drinks menu itself offers a very promising start to our morning.
The coffee is great, but if you prefer a lighter wake me up the iciness of the frappes will also do the trick. Our recommendation? Try the Rosa Frappe- a refreshing icy blend of all our favourite fruits lychee, strawberry, watermelon and ice.
The elderflower virgin fizz is even more refreshing, the elderflower adding a light floral taste without being too overpowering. The presentation and the tanginess of the lime is very cocktail-esque and definitely the kind of drink I’d like to see more of on mocktail menus.
And because we can’t get enough of watermelon, we also go for the El Coco Merito, a fizzy watermelon lime drink which is slightly reminiscent of a lemon lime bitters, without less of the sourness.
The Allegra’s house special thick shake is much heavier than the other drinks we sample, it actually lands on our table by mistake, but the waitstaff suggest we try it. And we are glad that we do! It’s a delicious rich and chocolatey ice cream blend that’s almost dessert like, and topped with a crunchy sprinkle which includes some popping candy for an extra bit of fun!
But enough about the drinks- the food what we’re really here for, and though there’s brekkie staples like your bacon and egg roll on the menu, Allegra’s brunch menu offers quite impressive options like spanner crab sandwiches to charcoal pappardelle.
You can’t tell me that hasn’t gotten your attention yet?
Even something as simple as the bacon and egg roll comes with a spruced up filling of mortadella, bacon, egg, scamorza, spicy ketchup, aioli and onion. It’s simple but done well, the fluffy brioche bun toasted to give a satisfying crisp texture against meltingly soft mortadella, crispy bacon and the soft oozey egg yolk.
Today’s brunch special comes in the form of the breakfast plate of sausages and eggs, and it’s blood sausage that’s served. Studded with beautiful plump pieces of almost corn looking grilled white beans, it’s plated beautifully, and although it doesn’t look like a particularly large serve, the soft, dense grilled blood sausage gives much sustenance to this simple dish.
Raw meat isn’t something you’d often find on a brunch menu, and though we’re not really all that big on raw beef they do have quite an enticing description of the Waygu Crudo on the menu And we’re glad we made too!
There’s no shortage of flavour from the toppings of ortiz anchovy, fried egg aioli, celery heart and capers; infact taste-wise, there’s so much going on you almost don’t notice that we’re having raw wagyu. The crostini is definitely a winner, the thin slices of bread baked til crisp with a generous lather of olive oil that leaves your fingers a little oily, but the crunch goes so well with the soft texture of the crudo it’s well worth it. If you prefer something a little lighter, the witlof leaves offer an alternate vessel which offer a peppery bitter taste to complement the meat.
My unexpected favourite for the day is definitely the cold saffron spaghetti, an unusual combination of seafood and veggies in a refreshingly cold spaghetti dish- perfect for summer!
If you’re not a fan of fishy tastes, you might want to stay away from this one, but if seafood is your thing then you’ll no doubt enjoy the bursts of briny ocean water with each bite of the bottarga as well as the creamy custard like texture of the sea urchin pieces scattered amongst of the saffron pasta.
We don’t often order dessert for brunch, but then again it’s not often on the menu at all. Our order of Mango Pancake is refreshingly different, an ice cream version of your yum-cha style pancakes with the familiar bright yellow crepe casing and fresh mango. But it’s much more dressed up, with passionfruit and a couple of spoonfuls of popping boba scattered on top for an extra Asian flair- and we’ve got to say, it’s pretty impressive!
But if you’re going for dessert, you can’t go past the classic tiramisu. There’s no fancy twists on this one, just the usual espresso soaked savoiardi layered with a rich, creamy mascarpone- that said, we’re surprised to come across a very thin sheet of chocolate in between the layers too, so discreet you would miss it if you weren’t paying attention, but just enough just to impart a bit of flavour without overwhelming the flavours of the tiramisu.
It’s clever and it works, just like the rest of the menu, and gets thumbs up from all of us. It’s just a shame they don’t offer brunch on other days of the week!