Osteria Renata

436-438 High St
Prahran, VIC 3181

Desperate for that hot Euro-girl summer but out of annual leave? I know exactly how you feel, and Osteria Renata is the next best thing. I usually don’t believe in claims that a place will transport you to another more exotic place – if you ask me, that’s just wishful marketing – but Osteria Renata, with its airy white-washed interior and touches of luxe olive leather, really does feel tres European. Not to mention, their menu of breezy Italian cooking, backed by a generous wine list, is perfect for lingering over with friends. If you twist my arm, I will admit that the food can tend towards forgettable, but it was definitely enjoyable whilst it lasted.

Rating: 13/20 – simple pleasures.

36 Month Aged Iberico Jamon, Gnoccho Fritto ‘Cacio e Pepe’ ($32)

Prosciutto! Fried bread! Cheese! The 36 Month Aged Iberico Jamon, Gnoccho Fritto ‘Cacio e Pepe’ ($32) has everything good in life, and is a major step up from your usual charcuterie platter.

Crispy Fried Zucchini Flower ($9ea)

The Crispy Fried Zucchini Flower ($9ea) stuffed with goat cheese was good but not mind-blowing; should’ve gone with the grilled scallops.

Market Fish, Clams, Jamon Iberico XO ($38)

The Market Fish, Clams, Jamon Iberico XO ($38) today is butterflied and lightly grilled gar, set over a pool of silky, buttery sauce flavoured with jamon and pipis. The sweet, delicate fish was delightful with the rich, salty flavours of the broth.

Casarecce, Braised Lamb Shoulder Ragu ($39)

Surprisingly, the Casarecce, Braised Lamb Shoulder Ragu ($39) was the weakest dish of the night. It was fine, but it lacked the richness and complexity of flavour I’ve come to expect from my pastas. The best thing that can be said about it is that the portion was exceedingly generous.

Grilled Savoy Cabbage, Tonnato ($22)

The special of Grilled Savoy Cabbage, Tonnato ($22) is touted to be a side, or maybe an entrée to share, but it could easily pass off as a veg-forward main. The sweet, nutty layers of grilled cabbage was contrasted by the umami-heavy tonnato sauce, and a sprinkling of fried anchovies really makes the vegetable pop.

Warm Lemon Syrup Cake ($17.5)

Dessert comes in the form of the classics – tiramisu and gelato – or the tempting alternative of Warm Lemon Syrup Cake ($17.5) with its tender crumb and vivacious citrus drizzle.

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