- Melanzane Parmigiana (Grilled Eggplant)
- Sfoglia Di Verdure (Puff Pastry Scroll)
- Tortelli Di Cioccolato (Chocolate Tortelli With Braised Duck)
- Quattro Formaggi
- Cioccolato Tortino (Chocolate Fondant)
The highlight of the evening was undoubtedly the Sfoglia di Verdure - Puff Pastry Scroll. With an exceedingly flakey crust, the pastry carried an exceptionally bold and buttery aroma that permeated throughout. Combined with the soft roasted mixed vegetables and a tad of cheese, the balance in both flavour and texture was pure perfection. This was perhaps one of the best entrees I've ever sampled, also helped by the truffle sauce of course!
The Melanzane Parmigiana was equally delicious. Hidden underneath a cheesey Mozzarella top, grilled to a crispy golden brown was a beautifully thick and flavourful Napoli sauce embedded with soft chunky pieces of eggplant. The wholesome and rich sauce bears close resemblance to that of Italy and this delectable entree definitely left me wanting more.
Given how well manager Giuseppe's suggestions turned out for our entrees, we decided to let him help us pick our mains too. While initially curious of how a chocolate duck pasta would turn out, I was secretly skeptical, and dreading the taste of a sweet pasta. Thankfully though, the dish was completely savoury, with the chocolate used merely for the colour, and not the flavour, of the Tortelli. Wrapped within was a parcel of exceedingly soft and tender braised lamb that was bursting with flavour and melted in your mouth. The dish was completed by a rich cream sauce which further complemented the lamb aroma. All in all, a perfectly cooked and flavoured Tortelli and I have to admit I thoroughly enjoyed every bite.
The Quattro Formaggi Pizza also didn't disappoint and was undoubtedly a cheese lover's paradise. With flavours exceedingly bold and forward, the generous amount of cheeses exemplified a diverse range of taste and aroma, exhibiting varying types of cheese at different stages of ageing. The standout though was the gorgonzola, which is an extremely pungent blue cheese. This was initially highly appetising, but gradually became harder to swallow as the meal progressed and I got fuller. So word of advice, don't get this unless you absolutely love the pungent flavours of aged cheeses.
The Cioccolato Tortino - Chocolate Fondant looked absolutely sensational. Nice crunchy outer enclosed a volcano-esque, chocolate inner that gradually leaked out once cut. Soft, warm and gooey, this contrasted nicely with the cinnamon and vanilla ice cream which balanced out the overall sweetness of the dessert. I just couldn't quite get enough of that rich gooey centre though.
Dessert number two was equally delicious. An authentic and traditional staple, the Tiramisu is the showcase dessert for any respectable Italian restaurant and it certainly shone on this occasion. Light and airy, the mountain of cream carried with it beautifully balanced coffee and chocolate flavour. The sponge fingers within provided great contrast in texture, akin to an airy sponge that gave great feedback. Each spoonful just melted in your mouth. Fantastic.
To polish off the meal, we were offered a delicious home made limoncello - for better digestion of course... A highly aromatic and rich lemon flavour permeated throughout the strong liqueur, causing me to reminisce the warm summers spent in the Southern regions of Italy, sipping ice cold lemon sorbets.
Overall, I'd put it down to one of the best Italian meals I've had in Melbourne. The dishes were executed flawlessly. Ingredients were wholesome and fresh. The staff were warm, and of course, being Italian, very chatty and hospitable.
For an authentic Italian experience, this is as close as it gets in Melbourne!
Would Penguin Eat Again?
Absolutely. With a range of different specials running throughout the week, I will certainly be back in a jiffy, though maybe with a less adventurous pizza choice.
I'm extremely thankful to have been invited to try the beautiful food at Italian Chef, and I'd like to personally thank Giuseppe's for his brief Italian lessons.