Monsieur Poisson and I have been eating at Twelve for years. The first year we were dating we spent my birthday here. When I left my last job, knowing that I like the place, it was here that colleagues chose to hold my farewell. That same year I gathered a large group of friends together to help me celebrate a significant birthday. We first ate at Twelve when the restaurant frontage was brown and now it’s red, although the blackboard wall featuring the specials is still here as well as their reasonable prices. The funny thing about us having eaten here so many times is that we have not actually sampled much of their menu. We are far more often than not attracted (or distracted) by the description of something on their specials board which changes on a regular basis.
Today we’re here to catch up with Ms Japan and we expect it to be a long dinner – when you get Ms Japan and I together the conversation can last absolute hours upon hours. Ms Japan settles back with a glass of red wine (unpictured) while I order a lemon, lime and bitters which arrives in a tall glass and is the colour of a beautiful, golden sunset – a reassuring sign that the bitters have not been skimped upon.
I am lucky that I know so many friends who are happy to share their food rather than digging into their individually ordered dishes. (Just as an aside, I’m always surprised and intrigued when I spot couples dining who both order the exact same thing. Most funny when I once saw a couple eating a pizza each, both with the same toppings!) This practice, of course, allows for a much more varied dining experience and a greater ability to taste-test different things. And thus we start our dinner with the ‘Risotto with prawns & porcini cream’ from the specials board.
Prawns and porcini is not a coupling that springs to mind when I think of risottos. The mushroom brown dish arrives with a slightly wet and sticky appearance punctuated by orange curls of shelled prawns. But then it somehow seems to work – the sweetness of the slippery prawns, the earthiness of the porcini and the mushroom-fragranced al dente rice. I’m surprised!
This is followed by another offering from the specials board: the ‘Spaghettini with crab, napolitana, basil & chilli’. This is a real summery pasta for me with the strands of sweet crabmeat, which is light in texture, tossed through the thinnish pasta and bound together by a sweet tomato sauce given a bit of a kick with the addition of chilli. The pasta is perfectly cooked and I keep digging in for more.
And then finally for something from Twelve’s standard menu! It’s their ‘Pumpkin & fetta pizza’ and pizzas are something that are done consistently well here, especially if you like your bases thin and crisp. Unfortunately you’re out of luck if you prefer a doughier or fluffier base but no complaints can be made about the toppings which usually revolve around a couple of starring ingredients which are always evenly spread with care.
Sadly it is much more difficult when it comes to sharing the desserts. We order two and the first to arrive is the board special of ‘Trio chocolate - mousse, sorbet & tart’. We have been given individual plates to aid our sharing but they’re warm, so the mousse and sorbet melt almost instantaneously upon contact. We all like the mousse which is light and airy but the sorbet is a little heavy on the cocoa which gives a slight bitter and powdery aftertaste. The tart is rich and dense with a firm texture and is encased by a crunchy biscuity base.
The other dessert falls under my husband’s category of favourites – it’s a dessert pizza and features banana. A crêpe-like base is the vessel for banana sliced thinly on the diagonal and dotted with chocolate chips. A dusting of icing sugar and scoop of vanilla ice-cream following the pizza’s stint in the oven and the dessert is complete.
Along with some coffees (unpictured) we are thoroughly stuffed full of food. We linger on with our conversation and have our water glasses diligently and continually refilled by the waitstaff.
222 King St (btwn Brown & Whateley St), Newtown NSW
Tel: (02) 9519 9412
Opening Hours: Sun & Mon CLOSED
Tues-Sat dinner only from 5:30pm