Grossi Florentino

80 Bourke St
Melbourne, VIC 3000

I’ve avoided Grossi Florentino for the longest time. Sure, it may have two chefs’ hats (and sometimes three), but in a city filled with excellent and moderately-priced Italian restaurants, how can one that easily costs $200pp be worth it? Well as it turns out, I was dead wrong – Grossi Florentino is nothing short of perfect from beginning to end. It’s the glamorous white tablecloth experience without any of the stuffiness. Despite the grandiosity of the dining room, the service is warm and oh-so-intimate, but also effortlessly seamless, crafting the meal into a graceful progression no matter how you choose to structure it. And the food is absolute divine; though it errs towards the conservative side, it’s made with such quality and flair that everything feels fresh, not to mention decadent. I’m not usually one for tradition, but Grossi Florentino truly makes the rapidly disappearing old-school fine dining experience shine.

Rating: 18/20 – old-school perfection.
Bonus points: i absolutely love the diversity in the front-of-house staff – well done!
Good to know: if you’re getting dishes to share, they will serve it up to you tableside; let them know if you’d prefer to dole it out yourself!

Panzerotti/Bread Sticks/Olives

Not only do you get bread here, but they also start you off with snacks! We’re talking warm, oily olives, served with house-made breadsticks, and little bite-sized panzerotti – fried pockets of dough filled with gooey melted cheese and salty anchovies.

Spelt Sourdough

There are of course also thick slices of Spelt Sourdough, to be slathered with milky French-style butter, or dipped in a richly bitter olive oil.

Fig Carpaccio with Culatello ($44)

The first course is a special of Fig Carpaccio with Culatello ($44), and honestly, the night may have peaked here (and I mean that in the best way possible). Despite being the most traditional of combinations, something about this little salad of ripe, jammy figs, draped with buttery cured pork and dollops of cheese curds, blows all the other wannabes out of the water. The flavours are fuller and more nuanced, the notes more balanced, and every bite is utter luxury.

Wagyu Bresaola ($48)

Same goes for the Wagyu Bresaola ($48), which paired with a deliciously soft and creamy stracchino and little puffs of bread, becomes the most elegant rendition of the charcuterie plate.

Trippa di Baccala ($45)

The Trippa di Baccala ($45) was nothing like I had expected. For some reason I imagined this to be fried – maybe because the ingredients list baccala fritto – but it’s actually more of a soupy green porridge, garnished with cod tripe, cuttlefish, and pan-fried cod. Don’t let the description put you off though – this is absolutely scrumptious. The variety of seafood is a tumble of umami, the firmness of the cod contrasting with the tenderness of cuttlefish, and the rich, creamy brine of tripe. Balancing out this ocean of decadence is the tangy, parsley-spiked broth, full of plump grains of soup-soaked fregola. Give me this as a main-sized serving!

Tortellini in Brodo ($42)

The Tortellini in Brodo ($42) is eye-wateringly expensive, especially as you only get 6 tiny dumplings. But I’ll be damned if this isn’t the best tortellini dishe I’ve ever had. Filled with a smoky, meaty combination of veal and mortadella, these chewy little parcels were baptised with a nourishing chicken broth boasting hints of earthy mushrooms, melting the snowstorm of parmesan, and creating a dish that can only be described as a hug in a bowl.

Gnocchi Monte Veronese di Malga ($42)

If you’re after something decadent though, absolutely try the Gnocchi Monte Veronese di Malga ($42). It is a hefty serve, drowned in a velvety cheese sauce that’s just the right balance between funky and creamy. The leaves of radicchio are a godsend, providing just enough bitterness to counteract the richness. And I know I say this every time I have good gnocchi, but this one must surely be the fluffiest, lightest version I have ever had.

Vitello ($65)

There was just enough room left to share a main, and the Vitello ($65) is a breath of fresh air after the heaviness of the gnocchi. The grass-fed veal was clean in flavour, and complemented well by the sweet earthiness of the marsala porcini jus, bringing to mind cool, sunny afternoons.

Raspberry Sorbet

We were treated to a little pre-dessert of smooth Raspberry Sorbet, garnished with invigorating mint granita. Even if you stopped here, this is a perfectly refreshing sweet bite to cap off the meal.

Tiramisu ($25)

But there is no missing the hulking mess that is the house-made Tiramisu ($25), with its mix of thick mascarpone, richly bitter espresso, and pockets of delightfully boozy sponge. If I had one complaint, it’s that it errs a little on the sweet side for such a large serve, but it’s nothing a strong cup of coffee can’t fix.

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