Tutto Bene

Shop M28 Southgate Plaza
Southbank, VIC 3006
Once I finally succumbed to using a nasal spray on top of my daily antihistamine, summer took a decided turn for the better. Pollen? What pollen? And that’s just as well, because how else am I to enjoy the cool breeze off the Yarra from the balcony of Tutto Bene?
Up until this point, Tutto Bene has always been known to me as the Italian place with the clown and the good gelato, because whenever I took a gander at the menu outside the door, it always looked way too expensive to bother with. Luckily The Age Good Food Month caters to the cheapos budget-savvy, and a large group of restaurants in the Southgate precinct are currently offering up a combination of signature dish and a drink for a fixed price of $15-$35, depending on where you go. 
We were served Bread with EVOO to start, and a tiny dish of Olives. It’s no surprise that the bread and olive oil at a good-quality Italian restaurant is top notch; the sourdough was chewy with a delightfully crispy crust, and the olive oil was fruity without being pungent. 
2013 Te Mata Chardonnay ($13, glass)
The drink being offered as part of Tutto Bene’s $35 Set Menu is a 2013 Te Mata Chardonnay($13, glass). Served chilled, this straw-coloured wine was tangy and invigorating, smelling faintly nutty and tasting strongly of citrus. It was delightfully refreshing on a hot day such as this one.  And the handsome jaw line I’m sharing a drink with? That’s Ethan. 
Calamari Fritti ($16.5)
Before our mains, we had a starter of Calamari Fritti ($16.5) to share. The calamari was lightly battered, enough to give it flavour, but more importantly, just enough for the calamari to retain its melt-in-mouth succulence and a hint of bite. The salad mix was contrastingly crisp and bitter, the sharpness of rocket and radicchio tempered with the occasional sweet pop of peas. Stunningly presented, this was a fantastic dish that left us raving. 
Risotteria Granchio ($29.5)
Tutto Bene’s signature dish was the Risotteria Granchio ($29.5), a simple yet elegant risotto in a sauce of of tomato, chilli, and spanner crab. Though delicate, it was nevertheless full in flavour, the briny aroma of the crab showing through the rich tomato sauce. The rice is, of course, the perfect chewy al dente. 
Many places on Southbank get by simply from the amazing ambience along the Yarra, and whilst there certainly was an element of that with Tutto Bene, the food is also, from personal experience, a cut above everything else. Whilst there is no way you would ever catch me paying $30 for a tasty but admittedly fairly average risotto, I am keen to see if anything else delights like the calamari. And failing that, there’s always the gelato.
Rating: 13.5/20 – ambient.
This rating reflects my personal experience at the time of visit.
Sweet and Sour Fork dined as a guest of Tutto Bene. 
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