On a balmy night in December, Boyfriend and I stumbled upon ‘Restaurant 16’ on Military Road in Neutral Bay. The restaurant’s simple entrance with a plain brown sign above the glass doors didn’t prepare me for its small, elegant interior. The tiny space is dimly lit with menus written on blackboards on the walls and beautifully polished dark wooden tables and chairs.
All the Italian homestyle cooked dishes are prepared with fresh ingredients by the Chef in a small kitchen hidden at the side of the restaurant. The meals, that night, were served by the Chef’s friendly wife and an even friendlier and attentive waiter.
For our entrée, we shared bruschetta topped with fresh tomatoes, basil, garlic and olive oil and also a croquette dipped into a creamy pea puree.
For my main I played it safe with juicy, flavoursome lamb chops and perfectly sautéed potatoes. Boyfriend, who can eat much richer food than me, enjoyed a plate of cheesey duck ragu.
After polishing off our dinners, we sat back in our seats and let our stomachs settle. But soon enough, the waiter returned with a large blackboard filled with dessert options and propped it onto the spare chair. So we decided to share an orange tart (which was more like a crème brulee pie with vanilla ice cream) and a cup of English breakfast tea.
As we stood up to leave at the end of our meal, the Chef, his wife and the waiter all appeared at our side to wave us good bye. That was probably the best part of the evening.
It’s hard to find beautiful fresh food, a cosy venue and excellent service in this big city of ours.
I highly recommend you go to Restaurant 16 for a romantic date or dinner with a group of (well behaved!) girlfriends.