Two different cooking styles in one place may light up warning signals in some people’s heads, but here it appears to offer a winning combination: you may like sushi and your partner Italian, but there’s plenty of choices for both.
A corner table on the deck offered views of the passing parade and, of course, the view of the water and the mountain never fails to make you feel at peace with the world.
We ordered Brampton’s lovely unwooded chardonnay, which provided soft vanilla flavours and a creaminess well balanced by a touch of acidity.
The menu is expansive to say the least and what may make it more bewildering is that some of the starter offerings are listed as first courses in both the Italian and sushi/Eastern sections.
The menu is divided into starters and salads, Asian noodles and tapas; sushi, Banting, pasta, sea food, meat and desserts and “premium” shakes (milkshakes).
One of the most popular dishes it appeared, looking the tables alongside us, was the kale salad with lime and avo topped with black beans, sauteed veggies and a spicy chipotle sauce. It seemed many people were paying attention to healthy food, but there were just as many ordering pizzas and pastas.
We settled on the antipasto platter, which advertises that it feeds three and I must say the handsome plate absolutely lived up to expectations: beautiful twists of Parma ham; quartered artichokes; rounds of fior di latte (fresh mozzarella); mini tubes of grilled calamari; slices of fresh avo; fresh tomatoes; rocket drizzled with a balsamic reduction; olives; and chunks of freshly toasted bread.
Quality ingredients are vital in platters like this and we were not disappointed. Everything was fresh, delicious and well presented. The dish could easily have been our main meal and we spent a relaxed time sampling it and sipping on the well-matched vino.
In the interests of the review we decided to try a sushi platter, as Balducci has over the years established a name for serving some of the city’s best .
There’s a range of platters and separate dishes from sashimi to nori to maki to salmon roses and dragon rolls and edamame beans and salads - again, choice is what it is all about.
Our helpful waiter said he’d ask the sushi chef to make up platter for us as we didn’t want anything with too much rice and a beautifully presented rectangular plate was borne to our table offering a colourful selection of delectable Japanese delicacies.
Beautiful salmon and tuna sashimi, salmon roses two ways, eel, calamari and marinated octopus all decorated with julienned fresh cucumber and salmon roe - heaven.
We ate slowly, savouring the freshness and the different textures. There were traditional salmon roses and some topped with crispy “bits” which offered a nice contrast and all the fish was supremely fresh and well cut.
I am a sucker for sashimi, particularly salmon, but was also impressed with the calamari while the tuna was out of this world.
It was difficult to top this, but again, in the interests of the review, we chose a sorbet and tiramisu with our coffees and again there was nothing to fault. The sorbet was creamy and flavoursome and the tiramisu was wickedly delicious, creamy. I am embarrassed to say, I polished it all off despite its considerable proportions.
Balducci is highly recommended and in my years of going there I have never been disappointed. It may be a constant on the food scene, but it keeps up with the times.
Balducci, 6162, V&A Waterfront, Breakwater Boulevard. Phone: 021 421 6002