Tailor Made Service
The top of Collins Street and Little Collins Street is often described as the Paris end of Melbourne, an ode to its many boutiques and high end retailers. It’s also home to some of the best Luxe Gastronomia Italia you can find in the CBD.
Restaurateur Joe Mammone and his team have been quietly achieving, for over a decade, at the sophisticated Il Bacaro. When he acquired the neighbouring Sarti it allowed for a more modern exploration of Italian dining.
Replacing the venue's opening chef can be extraordinarily challenging. However, the strength of these two businesses is the respectful and humble management of the their brands that never allows distraction from the reason these two restaurants are so special...exemplary customer service!
If you ever wondered why some restaurants survive and flourish in such a competitive landscape, and avoid the here today and gone tomorrow merry go round, just simply book a table at either Sarti or Il Bacaro and experience some of the best measured front of house service in Melbourne.
Warm, subtle, slick, charmingly cool cucina service within inspired, smart and edgy Italian interiors. Partnered with soulful and modern food it’s probably why cool Melbourne never goes out of fashion. The new chef Paolo Masciopinto is a passionate Piemontese and has trained in some of Melbourne’s most iconic institutions. The understanding that customers tastes come first shine through in his menu with respectful, generous and modern regional Italian cookery.
The pioneering menu concept remains the same, Stuzzichini (meaning Italian small /medium plates to share), the way we love to eat and we were happy to leave it in the chef’s capable hands.
We started with a flurry of warm antipasto - frutti de mare. Perfect Fritto Misto of soft shell crab, calamari, zucchini and school prawns /w chilli tartare sauce. Capesante (seared scallops, corn puree and truffles) was a rich and luxurious secondi, then another fried dish of pumpkin Crocchette with homemade mayonnaise.
It was too much of good thing for my female dining companions, as they sipped there perfect Negroni.
Our maitre’d suggested light sangiovese red wine to compliment the next wave of savoury courses. Outstanding Vitello Tonnato silver served expertly by such a young waiter was the highlight of my night, seeing the well trained youth of our industry enjoying the work is indeed why this is such a great business.
Another cracking dish was a warm, gelatinous, ham hock terrine with apple jelly which demonstrated the chefs modern repertoire. This type of dish requires great patience, skill, passion for meat cookery, first rate produce and deft seasoning. It was faultless.
More perfection followed with cloud like gnocchi; suckling pig sausage ragu, freshly shaved winter truffles, and crisp leaves of cavolo nero cabbage dialled the food up another notch to Piemontese style! Chef Paolo is a meat master chef for sure!
As we admired the next two dishes, a slow cooked baby goat was bathed in herbaceous lupini fagiolis, caramelised fennel hearts and confetti of salted ricotta which was the perfect seasoning for my favourite dish of the night.
The mod Italian osso bucco was another shining example of modern meat cookery. Clever parcels of veal shank wrapped in prosciutto were the perfect salty partner for accompanying logs of wobbly, fatty bone marrow rolled in hazelnut if you don’t mind, saffron and olive oil mash replaced the traditional risotto Milanese, this perhaps a little heavy on the saffron for my tastes after a few forkfuls, a small gripe after wonderful display of modern luxe gastronomia Italia.
Dessert was a lovely balance of old and new again, demonstrated with the too good to say no to nutella Bombolini. Three warm crumbly doughnuts with the chef's homemade nutella - they were comforting and delicious. Then an adventurous combination of caramel, blueberries, bronze fennel and salted popcorn divided opinion of which gastronomia reigns supreme, modern or the traditional.
We all agreed when the service is as good as our experience in such a cool city and venue, the winner is indeed Melbourne.
What Wilson says - Italians do it better!
When can we go -
Lunch: Monday to Friday - noon to 3pm
Dinner: Monday to Saturday - 6pm till late