Twelve in King St, Newtown
Twelve in King St, Newtown

Italian retro balloon pork belly salmon tomato potato bean mural art arty

Bad luck follows me wherever I go. There is always something that I am missing out on or something that I have overlooked. One rainy evening, Pizzaboy and I make our way to Newtown to try the newly opened and uber-trendy Bloodwood, only to find the windows shut and lights turned off. It is closed on Tuesdays… bummer.

We walk along King St, glum faced and with no idea what to have for dinner. We walked past Twelve a couple of times before deciding on dining here. It was really our hunger that made the final decision.

Italian retro balloon pork belly salmon tomato potato bean mural art arty

After being shown to our tables and looking over the menu I take a closer look at the restaurant and notice it is tasteful but haphazardly decorated. It’s retro-italian, Lygon St, high school mural, arty, home furnishing shop, organic cafe style that somehow meshes together well.

The restaurant is empty when we sit down. By the time we leave, it is buzzing and almost at capacity. Our waitress for the evening is new to the job and we are her first customers. It hindered my usual method of ordering (I always ask what are their popular dishes and what they recommend). We order quickly and cross our fingers.

Italian retro balloon pork belly salmon tomato potato bean mural art arty

Italian antipasto platter for two served with foccacia $22

The antipasto platter arrives quicker than expected. It is beautifully plated and looks scrumptious. The foccacia bread is slightly stale, it may have been toasted in advance. The buffalo mozzarella is smooth, glossy and porcelain white. It tasted lovely with the sharp tomato sauce and bitter rocket leaves. Pizzaboy wasn’t very fond of it and left it for me to enjoy. The proscuitto is pleasantly salty and paired with some of the buffalo mozzarella it is lovely. The grilled vegetables consisted of zucchini, eggplant and artichoke. They seem to have been mixed with the same sauce that appears with the buffalo mozzarella. I really like it and I am disappointed when it is finished.

Italian retro balloon pork belly salmon tomato potato bean mural art arty

Crisp pork belly with seared prawns, garlic potato puree, whiskey grapes and jus $28

The pork belly arrives and it smells amazing. The skin looks super crunchy and I dig into it with gusto. It turns out the skin is rock hard and it takes a stabbing with my knife to break it. When I manage to get it into my mouth it miraculosuly doesn’t shatter my teeth but gives my ear drums a much loved *kerrr-unch* There is a huge gelatinous layer of fat and after a few bites it becomes too much. I end up leaving some wobbly bits at the corner of my dish.

The garlic potato puree is luscious and creamy. I do not taste a dash of garlic. Pizzaboy tries his best to distract me to steal a bite of them, but I am too clever to fall for it. I didn’t think I would like the whiskey grapes but I find them sweet and plump. I am totally fascinated by them throughout the entire time they lasted on my plate.

Italian retro balloon pork belly salmon tomato potato bean mural art arty

Chargrilled ocean trout with warm potato and green bean salad with a vine ripened tomato and basil sauce $29

Pizzaboy attacks his crispy skinned ocean trout like he hasn’t eaten in years. The skin is thin and crunchy. The flesh is moist and breaks away with a nudging of the fork. The tomato sauce appears again and Pizzaboy is overjoyed. He smooches all the vegetables with the sauce and devours it with unabashed pleasure.

Italian retro balloon pork belly salmon tomato potato bean mural art arty

Apple & Rhubarb Crumble $12

Pizzaboy claims that he is stuffed and refuses to look at the dessert menu. I, on the other hand, have a bottomless stomach and choose the Apple & Rhubarb Crumble.

Italian retro balloon pork belly salmon tomato potato bean mural art arty

Although I polish off the entire dessert I found it to be average. I am going to be quite bold and say… I make a better one.

The verdict
This is a lovely place. None of the meals really excited me. I might come back again another time and try some other things. There was a fantastic smell of butter, garlic and pasta coming from the kitchen. I am curious as to what it could be O_o. However, with so many great options in Newtown, I don’t think the next visit will be anytime soon.

218 King St
Newtown NSW 2042
Phone: 02 9519 9412

Twelve on Urbanspoon

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  1. chocolatesuze

    the pork belly looks so awesome! and aw i want your crumble

  2. Mark @ Cafe Campana

    That pork belly looks really good, pity it was rock hard.

  3. joey@FoodiePop

    Alas, I’ve had some chewy crackling in my time too. I’m sure it doesn’t do my teeth any good ….

  4. tasteofbeirut

    I have never had pork belly; I am missing a lot?

  5. FFichiban

    Pork Bellyy!!! Can never have too much gelatinous fat though 😛 hee hee

  6. Barbara

    Pork belly seems to be the “in” meat right now. It’s on all the menus. I had it for the first time in Miami a couple months ago and it was delicious! Sorry yours at Twelve did not meet expectations. I’ve never made it, but am tempted.

    The potatoes DO look heavenly.

  7. Rosa

    The food doesn’t look bad… A pity none of the dishes excited you.



  8. foodwink

    I understand what you mean. There are plenty of restaurants that serve good food in Sydney. But unless you’ve had a great experience, the I’d-rather-try-a-new-restaurant attitude kicks in. Also, when you have a food blog, you just can’t go back to the same restaurant again and again …

  9. Elina

    It sounded quite lovely. Maybe not the best you’ve had but still sounds like a great dinner… especially unplanned. 🙂

  10. Ameena

    What beautiful pictures! I have never been to Sydney but I imagine the food there must be pretty amazing so I am surprised that you weren’t too happy with this place. Don’t you hate that??

    Your dessert looks like it was out of this world though, makes me want some cobbler!

  11. Ellie (Almost Bourdain)

    Pork belly looks awesome. Too bad it didn’t taste as good as it looks.

  12. sweetlife

    sorry the food disappointed you, that depresses me when i go somewhere and think, I could have made this at home “better” and been in my comfy pants..haha great post


  13. Conor @ HoldtheBeef

    Looks like they know how to crispy up some skin! I think if I were to break my teeth on that pork belly, my teeth would die happy.

  14. lisa

    Such a bummer when the food isn’t as exciting as you had hoped. The crumble does look good, though…

  15. grace

    you’re a gal after my own heart–ordering dessert even while stuffed to the brim AND finishing it off even though it wasn’t amazing. 🙂

  16. OohLookBel

    I was in Newtown on the weekend. I must really start remembering all these great places to eat there – this one seems alright, as it should with garlic and butter aromas, haha! 😀

  17. Von

    I’ve never been to Newtown before- it sounds like a really interesting place =] The pork belly looks so good…..

  18. Heavenly Housewife

    Looks like a fun place, sorry it didn’t live up to your expectations. Still, you only find a prince by kissing a lot of frogs lol 🙂

  19. john@heneedsfood

    I’ve only ever eaten here once and it was sadly not that great. I had a seafood risotto that was so flavourless I had to smother it with copious amounts of salt … and I rarely put salt on my food