Not Bread Alone, Crows Nest (9th August 2012)

I discovered Dimmi by accident when I was making an online booking to one of the restaurants in Sydney late last year - I never really bothered signing up at first when asked each time I stumbled on the blue and orange Dimmi booking system icon featured on many local restaurant sites but after several recurrences, I decided to check it out. Dimmi (meaning 'tell me' in Italian) is Australia's largest restaurant booking network designed to bring diners and restaurants together. With their live table availability booking system, it makes securing a table a breeze - reservations made on Dimmi are live and you instantly receive confirmation of your booking. In addition, when you sign up (cost nothing to join), each booking is worth 1000 points and after you've dined in the restaurant, you will receive an email asking you to review your dining experience which is worth another 1000 points. Once you get 8000 points (which is the equivalent of booking and reviewing 4 times), you can then redeem a $50 voucher towards a list of restaurants on the Dimmi website. At the rate Jono and I are eating out, we would have no problems getting enough points to redeem a free meal. In fact, that is why we are going to Not Bread Alone tonight, to spend the $50 voucher that has been sitting at home since May! PS: If you are a foodie like me and/or love eating out, I would strongly suggest signing up with Dimmi :)

Around 6.15pm, I left work and went to North Sydney train station to meet up with Jono. Instead of getting off the train, Jono texted me the time of his train arrival and the carriage he was on so I had to keep a lookout for him as trains zipped past every 2-3 minutes, just in case it was his train. Such a stressful task! I managed to get onto the same train carriage Jono was on - would have totally missed him if he didn't remove his hoodie!

We got off at St Leonards train station and took a short 10-minute walk to the restaurant located in Crows Nest. Not Bread Alone is a family-run restaurant serving modern Australian cuisine with ample seating both indoors and outdoors - we opted for an indoor table as the weather was pretty yuck and terribly cold this evening. There was only one other couple dining in, a sign that made me wondered if the restaurant was as good as what the Dimmi reviews suggested. The typical rule of thumb is if there's a crowd, then the good is usually good food. Hmm, no crowd worries me...

We started off with an entree of Roast duck spring rolls with mango & sweet chilli sauce, followed by mains of Pasta of the day (Linguini prawns, cherry tomatoes, chilli, lemon butter and roquette) for me while Jono ordered the Lamb rack with potato croquette, vine ripened tomato, paloise sauce & chive oil. We also got a Roquette, pear & Parmesan salad to share, as well as a glass of Sav/Blanc Semillon and Pinot Noir for me and Jono respectively to go with our mains. The spring rolls came out shortly after the wines and were tasty though a bit oily. Despite only four diners, the service was rather slow - there was a gap of a good 20 minutes between when our entree and mains were served. My huge serving of linguine turned out to be quite spicy while Jono's lamb was too rare for medium rare, and was actually cold, as if cooked and left sitting on the counter whilst the chef prepared my linguine to be served together - they were both good though would have tasted better if timed correctly. The salad turned out to be unnecessary - we already had some with the spring rolls and could hardly finish our mains AND the salad (too much food!).

Normally, if you booked online with Not Bread Alone and purchase a main meal for lunch or dinner up to the value of $17.90 and above, you will receive a free dessert of your choice. However, given that we were using our $50 Dimmi voucher, we weren't entitled to the free dessert :/ I've read reviews that their desserts and baked sweet things were very good so we decided to get a Sticky date pudding with butterscotch sauce & ice cream and a flat white to share. Hmm, given that they roast their own coffee, neither Jono nor I were impressed with the flat white - still room for improvement as it tasted slightly burnt and we had to add in sugar to cover up the bitterness. The dessert was nice though!

We only had to fork out another $34.30 in the end (total cost would have been $84.30 which was fairly reasonable for the amount of food and drinks we had) - the waiter double charged us for the dessert but was honest enough to inform us and issued a refund. Overall, the food and service was alright though honestly, I had expected a lot better. Don't think I'll revisit this place anytime soon but hey, it was worth a try (and it didn't cost us all that much for the dinner). Photos taken at Not Bread Alone tonight:

Roast duck spring rolls with mango and sweet chilli sauce ($14.90)

Lamb rack with potato croquette, vine ripened tomatoes,
paloise sauce and chive oil

Pasta of the day ($20.90) - Linguini prawns, cherry tomatoes, chilli,
lemon butter and roquette

Sticky date pudding with butterscotch sauce & ice cream ($11.50)

Not Bread Alone Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato


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