A Little Italian in Melbourne

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One thing I loved about Melbourne is that it is a melting pot of people and cultures. The same goes for the food. You can find just about any type of cuisine your heart desires – Mediterranean, Malaysian, Indian, Argentinian, Moroccan… The list is practically endless. We enjoyed a wonderful Greek dinner with Barb and Tony at Kyma one evening. And they even found a little Southern American joint called The Collection that reminded them of New Orleans!

However, it’s Italian food that always seems to capture Rob’s heart taste buds as evidenced here, here and here. He enjoyed some Pasta Carbonara at Abbey Road on our first afternoon in the city.

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His favorite dish of the trip was some pasta at Pino’s Trattoria on the way home from the penguin parade. (No photo of that one.) That restaurant was recommended by one of the guides and Rob was in heaven.

When we first arrived in Melbourne, Rob’s first question to the front desk clerk of our hotel was, “Do you know where we can get some really good Italian?”

Itali.co was recommended; but for some reason, we ended up at Rococo on our first night. We got there early and ordered some drinks. It was the first cocktail Rob ordered in Australia – and the last.IMG_0656

Cocktails are just so expensive in Australia – usually about $15 to $20 each. His tiny drink didn’t wow him. I am all about quality over quantity. So if this cocktail knocked his socks off, it’d be a different story. But that wasn’t the case.

We also quickly learned that all of the other diners knew something that we didn’t. This amazing aroma kept wafting toward us each time a plate was delivered to a nearby table. It was some garlicky bread of some sort. It made our mouths water while waiting for our so-so pizzas:

It wasn’t the best experience, but it wasn’t the worst.

~

But we did get to enjoy our last dinner in Melbourne at Itali.co. We arrived early, at opening, because we still had to pack and had a semi-early flight the next morning.

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We were seated in a little corner of the restaurant, which we enjoyed just fine. You can tell how early we arrived by the lack of other diners in the restaurant:

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Rob knew he was going to order pizza when he read this:

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However, the pizza oven was being repaired. So it wouldn’t be ready for another 30 to 40 minutes. *Pout.*  At least we could still order it!

We decided to stick it out and sip on some vino and nosh on a little foccacia to tide us over. I loved the fresh rosemary. Dredging that perfectly crunchy-yet-chewy bread in the olive oil drizzled with balsamic is something that no one can argue with being anything than utterly satisfying.

The oven repair gave us more time to peruse the rest of the menu:

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And you better belive that this is what I ordered: 

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Rigatoni Burrata – Rigatoni with “bronte” pistachio pesto, cherry tomato and burrata cheese – $21.50

How could I ever say, “no” to burrata?!

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Look at that creamy cheesy goodness and the olive oil drizzled atop it. This pasta was sensational. It was well seasoned with the prefect balance of creaminess from the burrata which mixed in to create a lovely sauce with the olive oil. My adoration of tomatoes had me swooning and the slight crunch of the pistachios gave it another layer of texture. What’s not to love?!

Rob’s choice:

BUNGA BUNGA Fior di latte, tomato, berkshire sausage, porcini mushroom & parmesan (Awarded best pizza 2013) - $22.50

Bunga Bunga – Fior di latte, tomato, berkshire sausage, porcini mushroom & parmesan (Awarded best pizza 2013) – $22.50

Rob was in heaven. He repeated, “Bunga! Bunga!” most of the rest of the night to show his admiration. Sausage and mushroom pizza just happens to be my favorite kind, too. So he was kind enough to share a slice with me.

It was the perfect meal to end our last night in Melbourne. Rob got his Italian fix. Or did he?! He just may have ordered more Italian later in the trip…

Is there a type of cuisine of which you just can’t get enough?

Other posts on our trip to Australia:

Cheers~
Carrie

 

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