19 October, 2006

Grossi Florentino

80 Bourke St, Melbourne; 03 9662 1811

From all reports, one hasn’t dined in Melbourne until they’ve dined at Grossi Florentino. This notion is helped by the fact that the Florentino provides three levels of dining experience - the Restaurant ($155 food and coffee), the Grill (mains $28-$35) and the Cellar Bar (under $20).

The best value is reserved for the pre-theatre menu at the Grill, if you don’t mind eating between 6-7:30pm: 2 courses, plus a glass of wine and coffee, for $30. The great price still seats you at a table with linen tablecloth and napkins and quality glassware. The early time also means a ratio of serving staff to customers of almost 1:1. Service was at times too efficient, with a couple of conversations interrupted by offers to refill wine glasses (though at only $5 for truly good Willowglen 2005 Semillon Chardonnay or Shiraz Cabernet one shouldn’t say no).

The good thing about this theatre menu is that it doesn’t skimp on the extras. Diners are greeted with warmed black olives and a hefty sourdough. The set menu comprises three entrees, mains and dessert. Serving sizes are generous. The spaghetti with swordfish in tomato ragu has the complexity of a marinara, without being ’seafoody’. A hunk of pork and chicken terrine is another entree option. The Pollo al Forno featured pieces of dense chicken, on a bed of polenta swimming in a winey stock. This dish was also a great match with the white wine on offer. Steak or floured trevally with cold potatoes make up the other mains on offer.
Even if you’ve left yourself without dessert as an option, the coffee included in the price is so good it makes up for lack of a sweet plate.


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