This restaurant is a bit different from the many other Italian places in Melbourne. There is no menu, the chef creates the evenings meals from the best produce he can source that day. And based on our experience this results in fresh, flavoursome food of the highest quality.
For those with special dietary requirements the no menu option may sound like a problem, but the opposite is in fact true. One of our party had some quite specific requirements so the chef came to the table to discuss them and then created dishes especially for her. All of which were excellent.
On the night we visited we had the three course option. Entree was a light and beautifully flavoured cod mousse served on a small round of toast with a delicate salad and some sardines on the side. For the vegetarian it was a beautiful broad bean salad on cauliflower puree. Both were excellent.
The pasta course was a perfectly cooked chestnut flour gnocci with, for the meat eaters, a bolognese-style sauce with buffalo ricotta and for the vegetarian a porcini mushroom sauce. Again, both were outstanding.
We opted for the dessert as third course and it was a vanilla panna cotta with berries that was a perfect end to the meal. The alternative dessert for our dietarily challenged companion was a flourless orange cake that was equally good. We also had a cheese platter and a couple of bottles of wine recommended by our waiter and both cheese and wine were excellent.
The food here is not pretentious or over complicated, but it is very good. The service is outstanding and the intimate restaurant provides the perfect ambiance to relax and enjoy your meal.
We did perhaps wait a little long between courses and if we'd had the six course option at the same speed it definitely would have started to drag, but really the only reason I did not give this restaurant five stars was the price. And more specifically the prices on the wine list.
$50 per head for three courses of food of this quality is fine. And there is a lower priced option for two courses. The wine list is the killer. For reds It starts in the 40s, then quickly jumps up to $65+. For four people, our bill ended up just short of $400. If you order carefully or don't drink much then this wouldn't be a problem, but if you're planning to make a night of it, drink house wine, go on 'BYO Tuesday' or get ready for a serious bill.
Overall, a great restaurant and I'd highly recommend it.
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