Cosi Bar Ristorante
- Canadian Scallops, Sweet Corn, Chorizo, Harissa
- Calamari, Rocket and Lemon Aioli
- Spaghetti Marinara (entree size)
- Roast Eggplant Ravioli
- Roasted Lamb Shoulder served with Roasted Potatoes
- Cardamom Panna Cotta
- Chocolate Self-Saucing Pudding
It was an astonishing start with the Canadian Scallops. Lightly seared, the scallops exhibited a slight charred outer that gave way to an exceptionally fresh and tender protein without so much of a hint of chewiness. Accompanying the scallops were lightly fried pieces of chorizo that provided a pleasant savoury sensation, while the chilli and creamy harissa added an appetising kick. All balanced off by the sweetness of the crunchy sweet corn and the savoury sensation of the choirzo, this was one well-balanced and very appetising start to the meal!
The Calamari was perhaps arguably just as enticing. The incredibly light and airy batter was just lightly fried, providing a pleasant crispness that enclosed a soft and tender squid within. Served alongside a creamy Harissa sauce and a fresh, light rocket salad, this incredibly simple entree was done exceptionally well, light yet full of flavour.
The Roast Eggplant Ravioli was absolutely delectable. Each gigantic ravioli was composed of a house-made, delicate egg pasta that enclosed a gooey inner of pillowy soft eggplant and taleggio cheese. Cooked to just the right softness, the pasta itself inherited much flavour from the surrounding butter sauce, which was incredibly creamy and rich without being overwhelming, balanced by the hint of lemon citrus undertone throughout. The softer components of the dish were well contrasted by the crispness of the sage as well as the crunch of the pine nuts.
Spaghetti Marinara is of course a must-try in any respectable Italian eatery, and we definitely weren’t disappointed. Opting for the entree size, the spaghetti was silky smooth and perfectly cooked to al dente. Each strand was delicately coated with an aptly flavoursome white wine and olive oil dressing that exhibited a slight fishy sensation. The seafood within was some of the freshest we have ever sampled, with the mussels incredibly soft and tender without so much of a hint of chewiness. A tad more chilli though would’ve really brought the flavours to a whole new level.
The highlight of our meal was undoubtedly the Roasted Lamb Shoulder. Served in a gigantic pan, the whole lamb shoulder was a sight to behold and honestly best shared between a few. The slow-roasted, still crispy outer skin fell away with the push of a fork to reveal some of the most tender and succulent lamb meat we have ever come across. Lightly spiced, the protein was incredibly flavoursome and fragrant, which was well accompanied by the creamy and rich gravy that incorporates much of the lambs own juices. Served alongside were an abundance of roast potatoes, where the crispy outer enclosed a soft and fluffy inner.
We concluded the evening with the Chocolate Self-Saucing Pudding and the Cardamom Panna Cotta. Despite the arguably simple presentation, the pudding itself was anything but. Digging into the canister reveals an incredibly gooey, chocolate inner that had just the right consistency. This was contrasted by the slight crispness of the outer shell, which gave way to a spongey and soft pudding texture within. All served with a amaerna ice cream that provided a light sweetness along with a hint of berry flavour, this dessert definitely satisfied the tastebuds.
The Cardamom Panna Cotta was no less spectacular. Passing the ‘wobbly’ test with flying colours, the panna cotta was incredibly jiggly and silky smooth. Scooped up with ease, the dessert exhibited a pleasant sweetness with a slight cardamom flavour permeating throughout. With the beautiful slices of poached pear providing additional sweetness and pistachio crumbs adding texture, this was one sweet ending to our Italian feast.
With this caliber of chef at the helm overseeing every dish that is severed, there’s no doubt that every single item we sampled today was consistently well-executed and tantalised the tastebuds.
Co-owner and head chef Peter places particular emphasis on quality ingredients and homely, hearty cooking that doesn’t aim to over complicate things, and as a result, there exists no other South Yarra eatery that does simple Italian cuisine so exceptionally.
Would Penguin Eat Again?
Most definitely. Simple, authentic Italian food done well is a rarity these days, and we’d definitely be back for more!
Penguineats would like to thank owners Nick and Peter for their generous hospitality, and our waitress Rowina for her impeccable service.
This blog post is produced in conjunction with the Australian Good Food Guide