Culinary Causerie

With Lesley Williams

Dario’s Da Portar Via

Sketty has a new addition to its take-away options – Dario’s Italian restaurant. Owner Dario comes from a long line of Swansea Italian restaurateurs with family connections to Vesuvio in Landore. This little café cum bistro’s menu can be ordered to eat in or eat out, and it’s not just the ubiquitous pizza on offer.

I had three hungry mouths to feed so carbs were a good option and what better carbs than pizza and pasta? But first we had to try some of the starters – king prawns in a spicy tomato sauce with garlic and chillies. The prawns were a good size and the sauce was tangy but not overly hot on the Scoville scale – next time I will make sure I have some ciabatta on hand to mop up the sauce.

Carbonara sauce can be a controversial subject. It is said that an authentic Italian recipe calls for pancetta, eggs and Parmesan, no cream, no mushrooms – but most restaurants add them as we in the UK apparently prefer a creamier sauce. Dario’s adds them and very good it is too. Mr W is a bit of a carbonara connoisseur having first eaten it in Italy in the late 70s when it was served in a bowl with a half eggshell in the middle complete with a raw egg yolk that was stirred into the pasta. Dario’s carbonara tagliatelle was a man-size portion with plenty of well-flavoured pancetta.

Our daughter had eaten in the restaurant on Dario’s opening night; she recommended the Fillet Arrabiata, medallions of fillet steak in a spicy or to give it its literal translation – angry sauce. Nothing to be angry about here – just tender pieces of steak in a well flavoured chilli sauce.

I am going through a fishy phase – I am more pescatarian now than ever before and choose fish over fowl most days, so a pizza marinara was my choice – prawns, tuna and anchovies on a thin and crispy base – not too much tomato and certainly no cheese.

We also ordered a portion of chips – well we have to give a balanced view of all the food available – that’s my excuse anyway. I’m happy to report that these were proper hand-cut crispy on the outside and soft on the inside chips.

We had as usual ordered too much for just the three of us, but at least lunch the next day was sorted. Next time I will book a table in the restaurant and we can enjoy a glass or two of one of our favourite wines Montepulciano d’Abruzzo before our short walk home.

It is good to have an alternative to our local Chinese, Indian and fish and chip take-away and you even get a 10% discount on the eat-in price.

Dario’s is open Tuesday to Saturday for lunch and dinner 87/89 Eversley Road, Sketty, Swansea SA2 9DE Tel: 01792 447370

Rag & Bone

Rag & Bone may not sound like the perfect name for a café, but once you step inside you understand the thinking behind the name. The industrial style interior has been created from items that would otherwise be sent for scrap – there’s a great game to be had while waiting for your order to arrive in guessing what items are around you. There’s lots of copper piping and I’m pretty sure there are some washing machine drums there too.

The menu caters for everyone, bacon butties for the carnivores, while vegetarians can feast on avocados on sourdough toast topped with a poached egg with just a sprinkling of feta and chilli. I had never thought of using feta and chilli as a seasoning, but it really does elevate this dish to another level. That was my first visit to R&B, the following week it was the eggs Benedict served with smoked salmon rather than ham that had me drooling – they really do know how to poach an egg here. Perfectly set whites with a golden runny yolk.

The coffee too is top notch – I drink mine black and sugarless. I like my blend to be smooth and not strong or bitter – R&B’s suits me perfectly.

The pancake stacks and cakes looked very tempting, but I would have to forgo my savoury. R&B’s atmosphere is warm and relaxed – you never feel hurried and the friendly members of staff are very welcoming.

Open for breakfast and brunch every day except Sunday

Rag & Bone, 136 West Cross Lane, SA3 5NG Tel: 01792 401204


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