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Central Otago Mirror - - FEATURES -

We didn’t know much about Farelli’s when our four­some made the de­ci­sion to head their way, ex­cept that it was Ital­ian and at Steamer Wharf.

We should have thought to make a book­ing be­cause clearly many oth­ers knew a lot more than us and had packed out the quite size­able restau­rant on this mis­er­able Satur­day night.

We were very thank­ful when staff went to the trou­ble of find­ing us a ta­ble. Our friendly waiter promptly brought our menus and we were not slow to start or­der­ing.

Food:

For the an­tipasto course Ta­nia had to have the Arancini – risotto balls filled with beef and moz­zarella ($11) – which we all shared and loved.

Farelli’s roast gar­lic bread with fresh pars­ley ($8.50) ar­rived with a roasted gar­lic clove on each slice of bread – an imag­i­na­tive touch.

Op­tions for the main course in­cluded pasta, mains and piz­zas along with some sides.

We wanted to en­sure we got a mix so Shaun went with the chilli prawn and gar­lic squid lin­guine with spinach, lemon and olive oil ($27).

He loved the blend of flavours and com­mented on the del­i­cately cooked seafood.

Ta­nia’s slow-cooked porchetta belly with crispy crack­ling pop­corn, chilli romen­sco and gourmet pota­toes ($29) was a feast for the eyes as well as the tummy. A sur­pris­ingly large meal it had a bit of ev­ery­thing – fal­la­part pork, de­li­cious chunks of crack­ling and pota­toes she kept call­ing for the rest of us to try – they were so good.

Karl had the gar­lic prawn pizza with roast red pep­pers and lemon rocket ($22) which had a per­fect thin base, juicy plump prawns and a top­ping (as did most of the meals) of fresh basil.

My own ‘‘au­then­tic’’ chicken parmi­giana with whipped po­lenta and warm tomato con­fit ($26) was also de­li­cious. Per­haps one of the sim­plest meals of the even­ing it was made by the con­fit. We were re­ally thrilled with the trou­ble staff went to to get us seated and the time wait staff took to ex­plain the menu and wine to us.

Our waiter pa­tiently worked through all of the Ital­ian wine op­tions be­fore we set­tled on the only rose on the menu – a Ge­orge Michel from Marl­bor­ough ($42) – more dry than an­tic­i­pated but very much in keep­ing with the food and at­mos­phere.

We did find it a lit­tle bit strange when the knives we did not use dur­ing the an­tipasto course were cleared away and the cut­lery in­tended for our mains, much of which we had in­ad­ver­tently used, re­mained.

And there were a few lapses in con­cen­tra­tion on this busy Satur­day night with empty beer bot­tles be­ing left on the ta­ble and af­ter a re­quest for them to be re­moved we needed to make a fur­ther re­quest to or­der new ones.

At­mos­phere:

Farelli’s could be at risk of feel­ing like a box but the light­ing, pa­per ta­ble cloths on top of tra­di­tional red and white checks and the busy at­mos­phere made it feel re­ally homely and re­laxed. The ex­posed brick work, wood and eclec­tic mix of pic­tures gave an au­then­tic, rus­tic feel.

We checked out the kids menu to en­sure there was one then re­quested the pens other kids were us­ing to draw on the dis­pos­able ta­ble cloth – an ex­cel­lent pas­time for adults also!

As happy birth­day rung out at an­other ta­ble, we, along with many other pa­trons, joined in – a re­flec­tion of the re­laxed feel­ing.

Verdict:

We were very im­pressed with Farelli’s. Au­then­tic Ital­ian food com­pli­mented by knowl­edge­able staff who did a great job of tend­ing ta­bles un­der the pres­sure of a con­sis­tently full house.

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