- Margherita Verace
- Bella Emilia
- Risotto Alla Milanese
- Pappardelle Ai Funghi
The Pappardelle ai Funghi was absolutely delicious. The thick cut pasta was cooked to perfection, with just the right softness and a beautiful eggy pasta aroma permeated throughout. Drowned in a generous amount of exceedingly rich and creamy mushroom sauce that had just the cheesiness, the mushroom flavour was forward and fragrant.
The pizzas were both unfortunately rather unimpressive.
The bases were universally soft and lacking in crispiness. However this was shadowed by the crust, which was exceedingly doughy and dense. This made for an extremely chewy experience and was akin to eating a very thick slice of dense bread. None of the crispy goodness one would normally associate with a woodfired pizza can be found in these pizzas.
The prosciutto on the Bella Emilia wasn’t of high quality. While providing good flavour, the protein was tough and chewy. This was not helped by the sparsely applied sundried tomatoes, which also felt too dry, a far cry from the rather plump and juicy and flavoursome varieties we are so used to getting from the deli.
The Risotto alla Milanese was downright terrible, so bad that we felt compelled to send this dish back. In the few bites that we sampled, we found that the Arborio rice was still hard and exhibited a slight crunch. This was not helped by the overall blandness of the dish and even the pork sausage. You’d think a dish, highlighting its use of saffron, would be incredibly flavourful. Not so here.
It was overall an unspectacular and unimpressive experience. Being the winner of the world’s best pizza, one would definitely expect a lot more, both in terms of taste and authenticity. This stuff is just so far away from the authentic Napoli Pizza you’d get in Naples.
Fortunately for us, there’s a plethora of pizza places in Melbourne dishing out much more impressive and authentic Italian woodfired pizzas nowadays, and Gradi simply can’t compete.
Would Penguin Eat Again?
You definitely shouldn’t call yourself an authentic Italian restaurant if you shit the bed on a simple risotto, and dish out soft, doughy pizzas.
Given the poor food tonight, it’s clear that hype is just hype, and it’s simply not worth a revisit.