In Short : Delicious Mediterranean menu, steak and seafood dishes, relaxed ambiance.
As the urban sprawl continues unabated in Sydney, the Hills in particular is seeing an explosion of residential dwellings. In turn, we’re seeing many new quality food offerings springing up.
At Dural’s Round Corner Shopping complex, there is a double-storey building housing Lombardo’s Restaurant and Bar. A delightful, well finished facade really sets the restaurant apart from the other buildings in the area. Wooden paneling, and lots of contrasting greens, really does draw me in. Walking into the restaurant, you will get the feeling that you have been transported from The Hills, into a wooden beach hut, with aromas that promise good food.
In terms of seating, there’s a few options. On a warm day, you can take in the warmth on the outside deck. On the ground level there is a more intimate setting of two tables with a view to the open kitchen. For me, my favourite spot is on the second level deck. With wooden stairs, seashells on the banisters, pictures of boats and lamps made with jars and ropes adorning the stairway, it’s a space rich with a nautical theme. The seating space has a lot of natural light filtering in and on a clear day, you can even see the Blue Mountains from the restaurant. The spacious wooden tables, a combination of Brentwood-style chairs and weathered-leather settees, allows us to be completely relaxed, while eagerly anticipating our meal.
For our entrée, we tried the newest addition to Lombardo’s menu – the sugar and vodka cured salmon with cannellini bean mash served on sliced Pane Di Casa bread. The vodka taste was subtle and just right and the mash was made with cannellini beans, butter, dill and garlic. It was the perfect spread to go on top of the lightly grilled sourdough bread. Slivers of citrus peel were sprinkled on top of the dish to give it a citrus edge. Make sure you don’t miss out on the streaks of delicious tomato reduction that encircles the dish.
Lombardo’s salad was a generous crispy pork belly salad with pear vinaigrette. The pork belly was juicy and soft with a crispy crackling on the top, while the pear vinaigrette elevated the dish to the next level, giving it a slight sweet edge to counteract the salty savouriness of the pork belly. The green bean and fennel, together with the matchstick crispy green apple and pear pieces, gave the dish a crunchy texture, while the pistachio and hazelnut imparts a nutty flavour to the dish. It was well balanced dish, that really ticked all the right boxes in terms of flavour.
One of the main attractions of Lombardo’s menu has to be its Blue Swimmer crab linguine, which we had for mains. From the moment that I entered the restaurant, that was the one item on the menu that caught my eye and in my mind, was a must-try item. When the dish was presented, I was definitely not disappointed. The linguine looked so inviting with big chunks of blue swimmer crab meat, tossed together with cherry tomatoes, chilli, garlic and rocket. The linguine was done al dente, a homage to the restaurant’s Italian influence. The crab meat was endearingly sweet and there was just enough sauce so that the dish did not become soggy, but enough to coat the pasta. Acidity from the tomato counteracts the intense sweetness from the crab. Even though there is mention of chilli in the dish, you only get a slight hint of the heat towards the end which is nice as it does not over power the dish. What completely binds the dish together is the crispy, crumbed topping on top of the linguine. They are well seasoned, deep fried breadcrumbs which adds a textural and delicious dimension to the dish. In a restaurant surrounded by colourful vignettes of the Mediterranean coast, it’s only fitting that a seafood dish of this calibre is on the menu.
To complete the meal, you cannot go past Lombardo’s dessert menu. If I had to recommend one dessert item, it would have to be their baked New York cheesecake with strawberry and blueberry topping, and ribbons of marinated orange peel,. The base of the cheesecake is made with delicious digestive biscuit and berry coulis sauce swirled around the plate. The strawberries on top of the cheesecake were firm but not mushy. Definitely a must-try dessert.
With a procession of food that pleased our eyes, and our palates, we hardly noticed that 2 hours had passed. We left with the knowledge that Dural and its surrounds are well looked after with Lombardo’s Restaurant and Bar delivering a menu that will satisfy both lovers of meat and seafood, and of course, lovers of good flavours.
*Coco and Vine dined as guests of Lombardo’s Restaurant and Bar