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HOT: Italy 1, 27 George Parade, Melbourne

Whenever visitors ask me to recommend a casual CBD restaurant for dinner, I tend to always direct them to Italy 1.

Why? Because it’s down a typical Melbourne laneway so it’s not that easy to find (though not so difficult that it’s going to freak out anyone tumbling down a dark alley), it’s small and cosy without being too quiet, and the Italian food is special without being too challenging.

There’s a reason Italy 1 has been in business for so long, and on a Tuesday night it was full to the rafters. It does an excellent job of selling a relaxed, sophisticated dining experience without pretension and theatrics.

P1050646v1 HOT: Italy 1, 27 George Parade, Melbourne

Our party of five managed to work our way through a lot of the menu – special of the day of grilled fresh scallops ($26), two serves of delicately fried arancini ($13) and some tender calamari with rocket ($24).

P1050648v1 HOT: Italy 1, 27 George Parade, Melbourne

P1050652v1 HOT: Italy 1, 27 George Parade, Melbourne

For mains I can never go past their lobster pappardelle ($38). I tend to shy away from ordering pasta at restaurants because very often I can do a pretty good job myself at home. However, Italy 1’s pappardelle is not really an at-home dish – fat ribbons of pappardelle (my second-favourite pasta shape, orrechiette being the first, FYI) with big juicy pieces of lobster and pops of salmon roe all mixed up in a creamy lobster bisque sauce. The luxuriousness of this dish is the reason I don’t tend to order anything else when I visit Italy 1.

P1050656v1 HOT: Italy 1, 27 George Parade, Melbourne

M enjoyed his scallop risotto mixed with chorizo ($32) while T and B had the special beef cheeks which were huge (a 3-cheeked cow?) and a little dry ($35).

P1050658v1 HOT: Italy 1, 27 George Parade, Melbourne

God knows why we decided on dessert as it really pushed us over the edge. The very rich chocolate fondant puddings oozed their molten centres ($16) accompanied by an almost-fudge like chocolate mousse.

P1050674v1 HOT: Italy 1, 27 George Parade, Melbourne

J and I shared the tiramisu ($14) voted the best tiramisu in Melbourne according to our waiter. Well, our tiramisu was quite good – I particularly liked the curlicues of chocolate – but the marscapone was solid, almost like butter in consistency. You can see the cracks in the cheese in the picture, and we suspected that the marscapone had been overwhipped. It really left a brick on our stomachs.

P1050668v1 HOT: Italy 1, 27 George Parade, Melbourne

On reflection M chose the best end to our rich meal, a selection of sorbets dotted with fresh fruit ($16).

P1050675v1 HOT: Italy 1, 27 George Parade, Melbourne

Once again Italy 1 had delivered a great dining experience. Not every dish was perfect but we tumbled out into the night air, bellies full and in convivial company, vowing to return soon.

  • Italy 1, 27 George Parade, Melbourne +61 3 9654 4430

minilink HOT: Italy 1, 27 George Parade, Melbourne

pixel HOT: Italy 1, 27 George Parade, Melbourne

Discussion

2 comments for “HOT: Italy 1, 27 George Parade, Melbourne”

  1. I’m the same when it comes to pasta. Most times, I feel ripped off as I could do slighlty better at home. I once had pasta that tasted like canned pasta. In fact, I have no doubt it was!

    Glad the pappardelle is made well here.

    Posted by Adrian @ Food Rehab
    Twitter: food_rehab
    | June 18, 2010, 3:20 pm
    • Hi Adrian

      You know what’s worse. I once had pasta, in ITALY, which was definitely microwaved from one of those Lean Cuisine style packets. It was absolutely terrible and I would have thought they’d be ashamed to serve a tourist such a terrible example of their national dish. Unless they thought I couldn’t tell the difference? :-)

      Jetsetting Joyce

      Posted by Jetsetting Joyce | June 23, 2010, 3:54 pm

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