Literally translating to sweet taste, Sapore Dolce is the latest newcomer joining O’Connell Street’s famed culinary scene. Open barely half a year, this unassuming restaurant is already making an impact in its prime North Adelaide location.
The twenty-odd seat capacity allows for a warm dining experience, akin to a lovely dinner party at a friend’s. This team of experienced, friendly and highly knowledgeable staff have a genuine passion for gastronomy that clearly shines through their many traditional dishes.
A perfectly light starter to showcase the quality of ingredients; chunky slices of rosy red tomato are accompanied by buffalo mozzarella, fresh basil and a sprinkling of oregano leaves. Though a simple, well-known dish with well-loved flavours, the balsamic glaze marries the ingredients together wonderfully, keeping this otherwise-familiar combination interesting. Served with crusty, perfectly grilled bread that has been lightly brushed with Italy’s liquid gold – olive oil – its’ charred notes well contrast the overall lightness of the dish.
Possibly the best Arancini in Adelaide. Two generous golden globes sit atop a bed of Napoletana sauce; the delicately crunchy coating encasing a luscious, moist interior, filled with cheesy goodness, meaty ragu, and rice that still has a bite to it. Lightly decadent, these balls are sweet, salty and flavourful; a slight acidity from the Napoletana cuts through the richness of the Arancini to balance the dish perfectly. Exquisite balls of happiness.
Rippled with marbles of flavour (i.e. fat), this glorious bresaola is grandly presented among a bed of red and greenery, and is a well-dressed, well thought-out dish. Luxurious slices of silky carpaccio melt in the mouth – the deeply richly umami flavours, permeated with lemony undertones, are cut through with acidity from the cherry tomato and balsamic glaze. A thoughtfully fresh reprieve comes courtesy of the viridescent baby rocket and basil leaves. An impeccable dish so decadent, it’s almost sinful.
Spaghetti Alla Carbonara
Not your standard Carbonara – and thank goodness for that. Where other cafes rely heavily on cream and a myriad of other components for flavour, this more traditional offering comprises but five ingredients: guanciale, pecorino, egg yolk, pepper – as an ingredient in its own right, and of course, spaghetti. What results is an unadulterated, glossy pasta, speckled with coarse black pepper to sharply cut through the otherwise richness of the dish. This is a less creamy, more traditional carbonara that simply hints at a sauce – allowing each of the five ingredients to sing individually, as well as work together harmoniously to produce a nice, clean flavour.
Whiffs of crab and garlic immediately leap off the plate the moment this is set on the table, promising a delicious entanglement of flavours. This sweetly-coloured sauce, served amid a ravel of thick, freshly-made pasta, encompasses flecks of chilli, garlic, and snow-white crabmeat that has been partially dyed a gentle rosé. A confetti of vibrantly green parsley rounds this dish off both visually and tastily. This is a lighter, fresher take on an Italian favourite that still manages to deliver the bold flavours for which this dish has become known, and loved.
This dish is a masterclass in the art of contrast. Light golden pillows are immersed in a gleaming, sumptuous sauce; the delicate gnocchi contrasting beautifully with the salty, creamy, bold gorgonzola. The moreish pops of crunchy pine nuts strewn throughout, establishes a further textural dimension to this hugely satisfying meal.
Risotto Gamberi e Creama di Zucchine
This Northern Italian specialty is unlike any other risotto you’ll find in Adelaide. Topped with sweetly succulent, caramelized prawns, this richly-coloured offering houses exquisitely al dente grains and further little gifts of prawn within, which imbue the prawn bisque essence in which they have been seeped. Infused with deeply delicious, complex flavours of the sea, this is a must try dish.
In honour of, and considering its namesake, it would be rude not to finish off your meal on a sweet dolce note:
Exhibiting strong vanilla tones, this warm, freshly brûlée-d ramekin of creamy, smooth, thick golden custard is beautifully presented with a garden of berries, an aromatic cinnamon scroll, and finished with a perfectly caramelized glass topping. Exactly what you want from a Crème Brûlée.
Presumably what consuming a chocolate cloud would taste like. Ripples of airy, milk chocolate mousse are entwined with contrastingly crunchy shards of white chocolate, and splendidly contrasted with a deeply crimson raspberry coulis. Not overly sweet, this is a delightful way to finish off your Italian feast.
Sapore Dolce is open from Tuesday to Sunday from 8am to 9:30pm.
Words by Anh Ngo
WHERE: 95A O’Connell St, North Adelaide