On the outside, Sosta Cucina seems like your average suburban cafe. On the inside, it’s glammed up with black and white walls, chandeliers and linen napkins. There’s nothing on the packaging to indicate that it cooks heartyItalian food but many Melbourne foodies know about it anyway, as the restaurant was packed on a Friday night and our table was being turned over again.
Our meal started with some plump salted and pickled anchovies. I think anchovies are a much-maligned fish that people think they should dislike, even though I’ve discovered that many have never tried them. For years I didn’t think I liked anchovies either until I went to Italy, and it was an ‘oh my God, what have I been missing out on’ moment. I often hide it in pasta sauce (as RM insists he doesn’t like anchovies) to give it a richer, deeper flavour.
Anyway, back to these anchovies. Imported from Sicily, they are salted and pickled by the kitchen and come served in an earthenware ramekin with grilled bread and grissini. The pickled anchovies were possibly the best anchovies I’ve ever eaten – smooth, creamy, with just a light bite to the meat and a subtle salty flavour. A great bargain at $7 a serve and the highlight of my meal (RM refused to touch it).
Our main courses were fat ribbons of pappardelle tossed with a lamb ragu and the daily special of tagliatelle with beef ragu (both $27). Both dishes were richly flavoured with chunky pieces of meat and the generous proportions sadly left no room for dessert.
Sosta Cucina is an unpretentious Italian local with high quality food and friendly service, the kind of place to kick back with some friends for a relaxed meal. We’ll be back again.