I had been promising my sister a pasta and gelato date for the next time I’m in Melbourne for months, only to realise a few days before coming back that the only day we can go out is on a Sunday… the day which Grossi Cellar Bar, my sister’s favourite place for pasta, happens to be closed. After a bit of frantic searching on my part, I found Lupino – a well-established and well-reviewed Italian restaurant that I’ve oddly never come across in all my years exploring Melbourne.
Do you know how long it’s been since I’ve had a pizza?? I do – it’s literally been over 6 months, I kid you not. As expected, the cravings hit a critical mass somewhere around March this year, and I found myself at Rosso Antico. I’ve been eyeing off Rosso Antico for over a year now, ever since I first stumbled across it on my way to Bovine and Swine. I was impressed with how legitimately Italian their menu looked, and their adorable pizza chefs certainly didn’t hurt either. The humble Margherita ($18) is my benchmark for sussing out the quality of a new pizza restaurant, and Rosso Antico fell somewhere in the middle of the road with their rendition. On the up-side, the crust was a gloriously tall and puffy with a healthy dusting of char, and was a complete joy to eat. But I would have liked to see a more robust and intense tomato flavour, as this tasted a little watered-down, and didn’t have enough complexity to bring out the creaminess of the mozzarella.
Nothing tastes as good as a celebratory meal, and oh do I have reason to be celebrating today. After barely 3 years out of university, Chris (aka my other half) has been promoted to a senior software developer! He’s of course stoked, and don’t tell him I said this because he’s already had so many congratulations that he’s running the risk of getting a big head, but I’m also completely thrilled – for him, and for this excellent excuse to splash out on dinner at Poly.
I don’t think I’ve ever mentioned this, but K, my long-suffering regular dining companion, is also my longstanding blog post editor. I will admit to feeling a little bad about the poor grammar I’ve exposed him to over the years, but I do occasionally treat him to a nice meal to make up for it. And that balances things out nicely. Or so I tell myself. Having been a while since our last meal, I took this opportunity when I was last down in Melbourne to have brunch with K at Flovie Florist Café, the hot new opening by the owners behind the very popular White Mojo.
Seriously, is there anything better than a feast of American BBQ? I honestly can’t think of many things more enjoyable than a platter of smoky meats, served with heaping bowls of mac and cheese, collard greens, and cornbread. Coupled with the fact that decent BBQ isn’t all that common in Australia, and how I won’t let myself indulge in it very often, it is a real treat when I do get to have it. Despite having been in Sydney for over a year now, I’ve only had BBQ once, at Bovine and Swine. This travesty was finally remedied with a long overdue trip to Surly’s – a heavily American-themed sports bar in Surry Hills.
One year on, I’m still trying to find the perfect pasta in Sydney that doesn’t break the bank. Although I’ve had a few bowls here and there, I found that most of the time they’re either cheap and super inauthentic, or pricey but only somewhat authentic. Admittedly I haven’t been looking around as much as I would have wanted to – at $30 or so per dish, it’s just a little bit out of my price range for casual meals. But last year, La Favola burst onto the Newtown scene in a whirl of rave reviews, with bold promises of freshly made pasta and Authentic Italian, all for something like $20 a bowl – consider me sold.