400 Gradi (Brunswick)
- Melanzane Parmigiana
- Margherita Verace Pizza
- Pappardelle al Sugo D’agnello
It was a pleasant beginning to our meal with the Melanzane Parmigiana. Served in a cute little casserole dish, the outermost layer of cheese was beautifully charred and offered up plenty of aroma. Digging underneath reveals layers of soft, almost gooey eggplant that was well complemented by a rich and fragrant napoli sauce.Combined with plenty of cheesy goodness, this entree certainly satisfied our tastebuds.
The Margherita Verace Pizza was of course the signature dish of Gradi. The puffy outer edge exhibited a soft, pillowy sensation that was dotted with spots of charring. Moving towards the centre of the pizza was a thin base that had a slight crispness and held its structural integrity rather well. Smeared on top was of course a rich and bold San Marzano tomato base as well as blobs of light, melted buffalo mozarella, which we could’ve done with more of. Contrary to authentic Neapolitan pizzas we’ve come across in Italy, the basil was baked on with the pizza itself, and the wilted leaves looked undeniably sad. We also found adding drops of chilli oil most definitely enhanced the flavour of this otherwise light pizza.
The Pappardelle al Sugo D’agnello didn’t impress. While both the lamb and the papardelle itself were rather well-executed, we couldn’t help but feel the dish was definitely missing something. The papardelle itself was cooked nicely, with a beautiful egg flavour and just the right softness, while the lamb was soft and tender, but didn’t offer up that much flavour. The sauces were light and did little to spice up the flavours, though after dumping in a heap of grated pamasean, this pasta finally became much more enjoyable.
Having finally visited the original Gradi, it’s a shame to say that the food served here is neither authentic nor outstanding. However, the execution was generally much better than the Crown venue, and the meal was overall enjoyable nonetheless, just not the standard that one would expect from the renowned Gradi.
Would Penguin Eat Again?
With so many authentic Italian eateries all around Melbourne these days, it’s quite hard to warrant a revisit.