119 Sailors Bay Rd
Northbridge, Sydney

Cervo oozes an elegant romantic sophistication the minute you walk through their doors, but it also has an edgier contemporary feel to it at the same time. Its like a collision of two worlds that somehow works to combine so well. With a less is more decor the recycled timber flooring on the feature walls is nicely contrasted with the black chalkboard of the other walls adorned with flowing chalk-drawn sketches that draw you in to the atmosphere. Owners Tamim Baqaie and Mostafa Baluch have created a gastronomical den here that has a raw beauty to it. Cervo (pronounced cherr-vo) means deer or venison and the links to this fine beast are evident throughout the restaurant and even on the menu.
Mlady started with the Hawkesbury River calamari with rocket, lemon and aioli. The playful presentation was reminiscent of days gone by when you had your fish and chips wrapped in newspaper, however this is where the comparison ends. The quality of the food was exceptional.

The delicious outpouring of tender juicy calamari on a bed of lightly dressed rocket seemed more art than food. Mlady is a fan of calamari and as a result often orders it. She said this was among the best she has had. The rings were small and tender with a light crisp coating on them that didn't overpower. The aioli blended lovely flavours together to lift the dish even further. The serving was generous and could almost be a main course and at $15.90 it was excellent value.
As tempting as the venison carpaccio with beetroot and tarragon emulsion sounded there is something about prawns and avocado that seems to lure and hook me every time.

Described on the menu as Yamba River prawn with avocado, tomato, chili and coriander it had already won me over. Two huge prawns arrived on a quirky triangular plate with spots of chilli surrounding a delicate avocado and tomato nest.

The prawns were so large I carved steaks from them! Well this might be a slight exaggeration but suffice to say they were very big so don't be mislead by the small number.

At $17.90 for this lovely combination it was again great value for quality food.

I was again torn between two main course options. I eventually chose the spaghetti with blue swimmer crab, zucchini, chili, garlic and lemon crumb over my second choice of braised lamb shoulder with carrot puree and fava bean.

I love seafood and pasta combinations, but more particularly those with a simple elegance to them.

The lemon crumb also intrigued me and added a zest to the subtle seafood flavours.

This dish was amazing. The flavours caressed the taste buds. At $24.90 it was very reasonably priced for the quality of the dish.

Mlady felt the urge for either the snapper fillet with kipfler potato, capers, celery hearts and avocado or one of the specialty pizzas of Cervo. The latter clearly won out.

She ordered the pumpkin pizza which combines onion jam, roasted butternut pumpkin, fetta, rosemary and rocket on a delicate base. Again it was pretty to watch and pretty to eat. The waves of colour that appeared dazzled and the flavours delighted. Even the pumpkin, which in some places is overcooked before being added, was perfectly tender but still slightly firm as it should be.

The pizzas at Cervo range from $16.90 to $23.90 depending on the topping. This one was $18.90 and was again a substantial serving.

The final challenge when dining at Cervo is how to finish your meal. What dessert will you choose. Its a small dessert menu but the options are so indulgently good!

With Mlady being a chocoholic the chocolate marquise with raspberry sorbet was always first choice. Presentation was again exquisite with the artistry and the quality matching each other.

The chocolate marquise was a delicate mouse of rich smooth chocolate under a lid of fine milk chocolate. Mlady said this was the possibly best chocolate dessert she has had - a big call. The raspberry sorbet contrasted nicely with the richness of the chocolate. This dessert was a mere $10.90.

Our second choice was vanilla bean panna cotta with mix berry compote. The panna cotta was again impeccable. Full of subtle flavour and silky on the lips and mouth. At under $10 - being $9.90 - it was great value.

Cervo is a rare gem on the North Shore but accessible easily from the city as it is only just across the bridge. The entire experience is understated but memorable. The food is excellent, the service was faultless and the decor has a raw yet sophisticated beauty. They also have an upstairs room which can be used for general dining or for functions. We will certainly be returning to this jewel of the north.

Sir and Mlady dined as guests of Cervo.
The upstairs room
The team at Cervo - Mostafa Baluch centre
Cervo Restaurant & Bar on Urbanspoon