- Tartufata Arancini
- Ferdinand Pizza
- Pork Lasagne
- Eggplant Parmigiana
- Panna Cotta
We thoroughly enjoyed the Ferdinand Pizza. Served on an authentic, woodfired pizza base that had just the right amount of airiness and crisp, fresh toppings were liberally applied. Huge chunks of fresh, lightly flavoured mozzarella di bufala dominated the top, and were accompanied by a generous amount of juicy cherry tomatoes and basil leaves. Underneath, we found layers of tender and flavourful proscuitto that easily fell apart when torn, and was well accompanied by a rich tomato base baked with parmigiano and fior di latte. The abundance of fresh, quality ingredients ensured that each bite was packed full of flavour.
The Pork Lasagne didn’t disappoint either. With a generous amount of mozzarella topping the dish, the lasagne was baked to al dente. Within each layer, we found a tender and juicy mixture of pork and beef ragu, with flavours further enhanced by the bold sopressa salami that added further depth and complexity in taste. While we felt that the Napoli sauce used within the lasagne could’ve been richer and bolder, it was enjoyable nonetheless and definitely satisfied the tastebuds.
The Eggplant Parmigiana may not look like much, but it most definitely was one of my favourite renditions I’ve had in Melbourne. The eggplant was cooked to a beautiful softness and simply melted away in your mouth. Between each layer of eggplant was more of that flavoursome sopressa salami and tender leg ham which, when combined with the rich napoli sauce, made for a very appetising dish.
We ended the evening with a Panna Cotta and Tiramisu. The Tiramisu was absoltuely delicious, and the sweetness of the cocoa within was delicately balanced by the bitterness and aromatic coffee-soaked biscuits. Light and slightly airy, the crumbly texture beautifully juxtaposed the exceptionally smooth and creamy mascarpone, which was flavourful and decadent without being overly rich.
While our first Panna Cotta wasn’t quite set, the second one was absolute perfection. Silky smooth and appropriately jiggly, it was incredibly rich and creamy and a slight vanilla aroma permeated throughout. Its soft texture was beautifully juxtaposed by the crispiness of the Italian biscotti, while the tartness of the berries compote balanced off the sweetness of the dessert. Simply divine.
We were rather disappointed by the Tartufata Arancini. While the outer was fried to a nice crisp and the batter provided a good crunch, we found the inner undeniably bland and lacking, both in flavour and in texture. The truffle flavour was definitely lost, as were the aroma of mushrooms that we were looking for.
Ferdinand brings to Melbourne’s North an authentic taste of Italy. With a simple yet well-executed menu that utilises traditional Italian ingredients and cooking methods, like the wood-fire oven, you are bound to be satisfied with the dishes served at this Italian eatery.
Would Penguin Eat Again?
Absolutely. Impeccable service and delectable desserts. Count me in for more!
Penguineats would like to thank owner Shandor for inviting us to his first restaurant, Ferdinand.