Westfield Knox Shopping Centre, 425 Burwood Highway, Wantirna South, Wantirna
03 9801 2000
Italian, Modern Australian, Seafood
- Natural Oysters Platter
- Antipasto Platter
- Carbonara Al Paesano
- Pumpkin Gnocchi
- Potato Gnocchi With Napoletana Sauce
- Chicken Breast
- Certified Australian Angus Beef - Porterhouse Stonegrill Experience
- Lemon Meringue Tart
- Rum Baba
- Toblerone Cocktail
Starting off with the antipasto, which is the signature 24-month cured Galloni Fratelli Prosciutto di Parma, it was perhaps the best prosciutto I've had in Australia. Rich and complex in flavour, the bold and fragrant aromas of a perfectly aged, 24-month old pork leg was simply salivating. The soft and tender texture was well complemented by the light and fluffy focaccia, exhibiting a crunchy outer that was dusted with light seasoning, allowing for the prosciutto to shine.
The Pumpkin Gnocchi was my absolute favourite dish of this Italian feast. Exceedingly soft and delectable potato gnocchi was baked just right. With a beautiful golden brown upper layer, the gnocchi proved to be inseparable from the stringy melted cheese and buttery rich pumpkin. Each mouthful simply melted in your mouth with an excitable amount of creaminess and complementing flavours. It's no surprise there was barely any left once the dish made its rounds across the table.
The Potato Gnocchi with Napoletana Sauce was equally delectable. With a rich, flavourful tomato based sauce, this dish was bursting with acidity which contrasted the creamy pumpkin variety rather well. Though, it gradually became a bit too sour for my palate.
It is often hard to pull off a dish that delivers in both novelty factor and taste. However Paesano definitely nailed it here. Their Stonegrill, Certified Australian Angus Beef (CAAB) steak provided a presentable and fun experience that delivered in both looks and taste. The giant uncooked, thick-cut porterhouse was exhibited nicely along with the scalding hot stone plate originating from a volcanic rock. With you at full control of the searing, you definitely won't be disappointed as your steak will be perfectly cooked, just the way you like it. Cooked to ma medium, my porterhouse was exceedingly succulent and juicy, with a good amount of fat providing a beautiful beef aroma with each bite.
With all their pasta made in-house, the Spaghetti Alla Chitarra was of course a must-have. Hand made by cutting each strand of dough by rolling on chitarra (guitar) strings, the pasta was finely cut, exceedingly fresh and light as opposed to being thick and doughy. Finished in a traditional Carbonara sauce, which involves the liberal use of olive oil and butter, the absence of cream is rather noticeable. The result is a flavoursome yet light oil-based sauce which allowed for the flavours of the pan-fried bacon, parmesan and herbs to really shine.
I also quite enjoyed the Sous Vide Chicken Breast, which was mounted high on top a cake of spinach. While the execution was not perfect, with the ends of the breast leaning towards the tough and dry side, the majority of the breast was beautifully prepared. Cutting into the middle cross-section revealed protein that was exceedingly moist and succulent, with a sense of springy feedback with each bite. Combined with the slight charred outer from grilling, this was one tasty chicken dish and was well balanced by an abundance of roast capsicum and fresh spinach. The rich buttery potato mash on the side was a welcome addition too.
No Italian feast is complete without dessert, and we sampled three beautiful specimens today. My personal favourite was the Pannacotta, which was topped with a raspberry jam. Perfectly wobbly and silky smooth, the texture was flawless and combined rather well with the fresh cream and strawberries that accompanied the dish. The Lemon Tart also proved to be quite delectable, with a buttery crust that contrasted the sharp and tangy lemon curd.
I polished off the meal with the delicious Toblerone cocktail, which was a creamy, chocolatey mix with a hint of baileys. Given my love for sweets, this drink went down exceedingly easily and quickly. Simply delicious and one of my favourite chocolate-based cocktails!
While I admire Paesano for adopting traditional techniques and recipes, their Carbonara sauce could've been made much richer with the aid of additional butter. Though, there's a fine balance to getting it right as it could've easily been made too rich, and I know I definitely prefer Paesano's execution of being lighter.
It's encouraging to see Paesano, which has always been a family-oriented restaurant, to gradually return to their roots of traditional, authentic and wholesome Italian recipes.
Their new menu embodies a range of dishes that is sure to please, whether you are looking for a traditional Italian experience, or prefer a more hearty, Australian twist to Italian dishes, I guarantee that you won't leave disappointed.
Would Penguin Eat Again?
Definitely. It's quite clear that there is no compromise in the quality of the food served here, and our revisit was just as good, if not better than our first.
Their modern and traditional Italian dishes are consistently delicious and I am incredibly thankful to have been invited back to sample Paesano's new menu.