The latest autumn edition of the Australian edition of Vogue Entertaining and Travel had a small box mentioning Bertoni Deli (281 Darling St, Balmain). I initially bought this magazine because of the sumptuous picture of crème caramel (my favourite dessert) on the cover. This articlet, for it was only a sentence long, also had two pictures; of the proprietor-Boys with their Mama and a long shot of their barista station. The art in constructing this piece - home-y boys, Mama's recipes, fake warmth - was almost vomit-inducing in retrospect.
L was keen to try this place because their "Casalinga-style food has become a new favourite with locals" according to VE&T. We should have looked up what "Casalinga" meant - a brief search using an internet translator reveals it to mean "housewife".
Needless to say we were disappointed. Although the menu was well conceived, balanced, hearty, wholesome and comprehensive (pizza, pasta al forno, foccacia, etc.); this was not really anything special. This being a deli, everything was re-heat and go. Nothing wrong with that but we were hoping for a little more attentive detail towards the food.
We both could do just as good ourselves at home, so elected to leave. A nutella doughnut caught my eye just as we went for the door. I love nutella and the combination with deep fried sugared bread was quite appealing. Whilst queueing to pay, the proprietor idly chatted with a customer and his barista, "How are the kids; that hat suits you; you can't even tell I'm bald; there's already sugar in that; I'm so full of shit; I don't care that this guy is waiting to buy his doughnut; etc." I thought the whole interchange extremely rude. It felt so cliquey and exclusive - I felt like I was trespassing onto Their Place.
This place was so mediocre that L was annoyed that it was even written up at all. I rationalised to us that VE&T probably had 8 square cms of space in this issue that needed to be filled. A sub-sub-sub-sub editor probably lived close by and when the call came out, pulled out the one-sentence articlet and grabbed a couple of photos. Later when we were driving home, we noticed a big fat BMW SUV parked outside this place in the disabled zone. The number plate had a little VOGUE sign next to it. L was in full bitch-flight now, "Now we know why this got a mention. The editor is disabled so parks here because it's convenient. She's also so fat and unfit that she can't wheel herself up the hill. Or the motor on her chair can't cope with her weight. That's why she visits this place and can write about it."