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Oddfellows, Melbourne

27 Nov

Highlight – Genuine wood fired pizza oven

Lowlight – Service was a bit slow to start

FOOD?

Oddfellows is popular for their authentic wood fired artisan pizzas. On our visit we were fortunate to be able to order “half and half” pizzas and in turn got to try six different toppings.

First up was the non-tomato based pizza and also my favourite of the night. The Dell’orso; smoked salmon and braised leek topped with marscarpone, mozzarella and chive oil. It was so simple yet I haven’t tried these ingredients before as a pizza topping, the flavours went perfectly together. The other half was the Saporita which had a tomato-bechamel base with mushrooms, salami and lots of parmesan and mozzarella.

Dell'orso & Saporita

Dell'orso & Saporita

Second round was the vegetarian pizza. The Ortolana combined grilled eggplant, pumpkin, zucchini and capsicum topped with caramelised onion, napoli and once again mozzarella. The pumpkin was impressively both soft on the inside and crunchy on the outside. The other half was the  Alpina which was more mushroom oriented on a napoli base, integrated with spinach, taleggio, mozzarella and finally drizzled with truffle oil.

Ortolana & Alpina

Ortolana & Alpina

Lastly we had the more meaty pizza. Another favourite, the Norcina; pork and fennel sausage, caramelised onion and napoli, what more could you ask for? For a more fiery hit try the Calabrese which incorporates hot salami, chargrilled capsicum, black olives, napoli and dusted with chilli flakes.

Norcina & Calabrese

Norcina & Calabrese

As you can see all pizzas were served with a generous amount of mozzarella which is locally produced by a friend of Angelo, the head pizza maker at Oddfellows. The pizza bases were not too thin and more bread-like yet the crusts still remained crisp.

SERVICE?

We were given the opportunity to have a chat with Angelo who gave us three tips for making delectable artisan pizzas:

  1. Always use high quality ingredients
  2. Create a tasty pizza base (Angelo uses beer in his pizza dough to act as a yeast component)
  3. Keep the toppings simple

AMBIENCE?

Oddfellows has a modern pub-style feel to it. The mood is casual and relaxed. Located in the CBD they attract many office workers in the surrounding buildings. During warmer months I can see the outdoor seating area being used aplenty.

VALUE?

All pizzas average around $17 which may be a tad pricier than the nearby cafes, however the pizza portions are quite decent. Also something to note, Angelo mentioned that all pizzas are available as a gluten-free option at no additional cost.

BOOKINGS?

Bookings are accepted but probably not necessary if you’re dining on a weeknight. I assume lunchtime on weekdays would be busier though so best to call ahead and book a table.

7

out of 10!

Oddfellows
33-35 Little Lonsdale Street, Melbourne VIC  3000
03 9663 3437

Oddfellows Hotel on Urbanspoon

Mezzo Bar and Grill, Melbourne

23 Oct

Highlight – Contemporary ambience

Lowlight – No ‘wow’ factor

Arancini filled with spinach, caciocavallo cheese, chilli

Arancini filled with spinach, caciocavallo cheese, chilli

Oysters natural with lemon and red wine shallot dressing / baked with sopressa, chilli and white balsamic

Oysters natural with lemon and red wine shallot dressing / baked with sopressa, chilli and white balsamic

Twice cooked otway pork belly, spiced baby apples, cavolo rosso, leatherwood honey

Twice cooked otway pork belly, spiced baby apples, cavolo rosso, leatherwood honey

FOOD?

We chose Mezzo Bar and Grill for our pre-girls night out dinner and were allocated a high table close to the window. We weren’t overly impressed with the standard of food as it was quite average. First up were the arancini balls filled with caciocavallo cheese, spinach and chilli. I would say that I enjoyed this more so than my main. The texture was moist and there was just enough cheese to cover each bite. Our other entrees included a dozen oysters and a charcuterie plate which were both okay yet unmemorable.

For mains I choose the twice cooked otway pork belly with the cutest mini spiced apples on the side and red cabbage. The portion of the pork belly was massive and too much for me to finish. It could have used a couple more apples to balance out the flavour as the pork belly by itself got a bit boring.

Our table came to the mutual decision that the meal was satisfying yet there was no ‘wow’ factor. As such we decided against dessert and instead went out for some drinks instead.

Baked cannelloni with pork and veal ragu, white cheese sauce

Baked cannelloni with pork and veal ragu, white cheese sauce

Eye fillet ‘braciole’, beef rotolo, caponata siciliana, potato crisps, herb salmoriglio

Eye fillet ‘braciole’, beef rotolo, caponata siciliana, potato crisps, herb salmoriglio

SERVICE?

Our waiter was polite but a tad aloof. When he delivered our bread he only gave us enough for the table minus one. It took forever to wave him down again and when we finally did, he didn’t return for a long time after.

The waiter that took our orders appeared to have more experience. Overall service was a bit inconsistent but we weren’t in a rush so it wasn’t a huge deal that we had to wait for service during the night.

AMBIENCE?

Decor is modern with mood lighting suited to the restaurant style. Tall tables are situated along the outer areas and adds a point of difference in terms of interior layout. The bar area is central and quite large and would suit as a venue for after work drinks.

VALUE?

With the Entertainment Book you can receive 25% off the total bill up to $45 value. Although, it is quite expensive for mediocre food and I probably wouldn’t be returning anytime soon.

BOOKINGS?

Yes bookings are available and recommended especially on weekends.

6

out of 10!

Mezzo Bar & Grill
35 Little Bourke Street, Melbourne VIC 3000
03 9650 0988 

Mezzo Bar & Grill on Urbanspoon

Entertainment Book

25% off up to $45 value

Il Bacaro Cucina e Bar, Melbourne

26 Sep

Highlight – Dessert was by far the standout performer

Lowlight – Not quite convinced about the goat

Nettle quadretti with braised wagyu beef cheek, baby carrots and parmigiano reggiano

Nettle quadretti with braised wagyu beef cheek, baby carrots and parmigiano reggiano

Roman-style braised goat with peas, heirloom carrots, potato and truffled pecorino

Roman-style braised goat with peas, heirloom carrots, potato and truffled pecorino

Western Plains suckling pork with cauliflower puree, silverbeet, barberry and almonds

Western Plains suckling pork with cauliflower puree, silverbeet, barberry and almonds

Agave nectar cheesecake with rhubarb sorbet, yoghurt foam and vanilla fairy floss

Agave nectar cheesecake with rhubarb sorbet, yoghurt foam and vanilla fairy floss

FOOD?

I came here in a group of 10 and were fortunate to be able to order à la carte as opposed to a set menu arrangement (as per most group bookings at other restaurants). For entrée I chose the pasta made from nettle with ever-so-tender wagyu beef cheeks and baby carrots, finished with a sprinkle of parmesan cheese. The pasta was cooked al dente and the beef melted delightfully in my mouth.

For mains I decided to try something different so went with the Roman-style braised goat. Not a very good decision on my part – I am probably not used to the flavour. Even though the goat was tender I found the taste unfamiliar and unappetizing. I also wasn’t quite fond of the carrot, potato, and the ingredient similar in texture but dark purple in colour. However, my dining companion praised the silky smooth cauliflower puree in her suckling pork dish. I had major food envy. I would have much preferred this over my goat dish.

Dessert was another story. I was torn between the peanut butter and marshmallow chocolate bomb and the agave nectar cheesecake. I went with the latter and was impressed by the soft cheesecake topped with vanilla fairy floss, complimented by a rhubarb jelly and sorbet that was filled with popping candy rocks, and finally balanced with a yoghurt foam. Everyone was delighted with their dessert choices and were fascinated by the intricate designs.

SERVICE?

Italian waiters who were accommodating to our table needs and knowledgeable of the menu and specials. Staff were friendly and attentive.

AMBIENCE?

The bar is situated in the middle of the floor surrounded by tables of patrons. The venue is dimly lit and perfect for special occasions and/or a romantic dinner.

VALUE?

On the pricey side but worth it if you want to treat yourself.

BOOKINGS?

Bookings are recommended as the place is not very large. You would definitely want to call ahead.

7

out of 10!

Il Bacaro Cucina e Bar
168-170 Little Collins Street, Melbourne VIC 3000
03 9654 6778 

 Il Bacaro Cucina e Bar on Urbanspoon

Cellar Bar at Grossi Florentino, Melbourne

8 Aug

Highlight – Pasta!

Lowlight – Relatively small portions

Antipasto

Antipasto

 Roast pumpkin tortellini, fried sage leaves

Roast pumpkin tortellini, fried sage leaves

FOOD?

We started with a plate of antipasto and a bottle of white to share between our table of four. I recommend ordering one of the pasta dishes but make sure you’re not overly hungry! Even though the pumpkin tortellini was amazing, eight pieces just wasn’t enough for me. I just had to eat slowly to savour every mouthful as well as drink more wine to fill me up.

I’ll definitely return here for a more casual meal when I’m craving authentic Italian dishes and hopefully one day come and try out the main restaurant. I am also keen to try out the breakfast menu as I’ve heard great things.

SERVICE?

Staff are well-mannered and know the menu back to front. They are quick at turning over tables during busy periods and understand how to manage the popularity of the restaurant.

AMBIENCE?

During Summer it is perfect to sit outside and watch passersby on the ever busy Bourke Street. Inside is small and not preferable if you’re in a large group.

VALUE?

Most meals are around $16 to $18 which is a bargain in comparison to the Grill and the Restaurant.

BOOKINGS?

Unfortunately you cannot make bookings at the Cellar Bar so it’s best not to go with too many people unless you either eat early or late.

8

out of 10!

Cellar Bar at Grossi Florentino
80 Bourke Street, Melbourne VIC 3000
03 9662 1811 

The Cellar Bar (Grossi Florentino) on UrbanspoonGrossi Florentino on Urbanspoon

Italy 1, Camberwell; Melbourne

10 Mar

Highlight – House made gnocchi

Lowlight – Did not have enough time to try dessert

Linguine Marinara

Linguine with large scampi, prawns, half shell Hervey bay scallops, local scallops, fish, mussels, pippies, garlic, chilli & extra-virgin olive oil

Gnocchi

House made potato gnocchi with braised lamb shoulder, green olive & tomato ragu

FOOD?

We started our night with fresh oysters and white wine. Each of us ordered a pasta dish which all turned out as expected, full of flavour and yummy goodness. I had a taste of my friend’s dish, the homemade gnocchi pillows that melted away in my mouth.  My barramundi and scallop mousse tortellini was still delicious but next time I’ll be sure to order the gnocchi!

I would have loved to try the dessert but we spent too much time on drinks, entrees and mains that by the time we finished our two-hour slot was up and we had to leave.

Italy 1 is a favourite amongst my friends and I will surely return here in the future!

AMBIENCE?

We booked the 6.00pm to 8.00pm session so when we arrived only a few tables were occupied. However, not long after the restaurant was full of life and lively chatter. Great food combined with awesome company was sure to end in a lovely night.

SERVICE?

Our waiters were polite and always on the look out to make sure our wine glasses were always topped up. Although at one point during the night the waitress started pouring us another table’s bottle of wine!

VALUE?

Great quality Italian food for the price paid. With the Entertainment Book Gold Card you are entitled to receive 25% off the total bill of up to $40 value. Also by signing up to the Italy 1 website you can receive special offers for members only. Check it out!

BOOKINGS?

Yes you will need to book! Booking online via the website is available too.

8

out of 10!

Italy 1
823 Burke Road, Camberwell VIC 3124 – 03 9804 0944
27 George Parade, Melbourne VIC 3000 – 03 9654 4430

Italy 1 on Urbanspoon

Entertainment Book

25% off up to $45 value

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