Italian dreaming at Centovene

I’ve been suffering severe Italy withdrawal since my return to Melbourne.   Luckily for my birthday my mother in law gave me a voucher to Centovene restaurant in Kew (thanks Carmel!).  It was one of those really Wintery evenings when I went there with MTV, the sort when you really just want to hibernate at home, but the welcome was warm and Italian at Centovene.  

Centovene

Centovene

It’s all “Ciao” and “Buonasera” when you walk in the door and the waiters were throwing in as many Italian phrases as they could during the meal.  The problem is they probably thought we were both crazy as, having just got back from Italy, we started responding to them in our (very basic) Italian out of habit.  I can just imagine them in the kitchen saying “Why do that couple who can’t really speak Italian keep on trying to?”.  

Fritto misto at Centovene

Fritto misto at Centovene

The restaurant is fairly small and we were seated in the upstairs dining room which was very cosy with tables close together and wines lining the wall.  The menu is a hymn sheet of Italian classics.  A bowl of olives to start, along with decent bread, takes us right back to Italy.  The fritto misto ($23) of calamari, prawns and zucchini is piping hot but suffers from a thick batter which errs on the side of being stodgy.  The dish that is singing out to be ordered on a night like this is the tagiatelle with a ragu of veal cheek ($34).  The pasta is al dente and the ragu stonkingly rich – perfect Winter comfort food.  Of course MTV can’t go past the grain fed beef fillet ($40) which is cooked to a state of blush pink.  

Cheese plate at Centovene

Cheese plate at Centovene

The cheese plate  ($36) is generously sized with a mix of Italian and local cheese. The Mauri gorgonzola is a rich and creamy standout.  The swoony accents and classic food at this Melbourne institution are like a mini holiday but the high prices are a quick reminder that Centovene is in Kew not Turin.  

Essentials
Details: Centovene, 109 Cotham Rd, Kew 3101 (Ph 03 9817 6468)
Damage: Pricey. Our meal came to over $200 in person. 
7/10
Centonove on Urbanspoon

Posted by: on July 22nd, 2014     No Comments »

Category: Dinner, Italian
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Where to eat in Puglia: Gourmet Chick in Italy

If Italy is a boot then Puglia is the heel right at the bottom.  It’s hot with an arid and flat landscape.  We hired a masseria (walled house) for a week with friends in the Salento region in the middle of an olive grove.  All around us there was sun, sea and seriously good food .  And the occasional little stone building which looks like a smurf house but which is known as a trulli.  It’s a region which seems still quite undiscovered.  There were no tour buses and most of the other tourists we ran into were Italian.  

Puglian

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Posted by: on July 17th, 2014     4 Comments »

Category: Travel - Italy Tags:
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How to make Bourke Street Bakery’s pork and fennel sausage rolls

I hosted a very crazy party at my place on Saturday.  The guests spilled drinks everywhere, spread food all over the floor and one of them vomited a few times.  Yes it was wild times at the joint first birthday party for our mothers group.  Those one year olds really know how to trash a house!

Pork & fennel

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Posted by: on July 14th, 2014     5 Comments »

Category: Recipe - Finger Food, Recipe - Lunch Tags: ,
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London revisited: my four must eats

It’s a strange feeling going back to a city which used to be your home.  So much had changed in London in the three years since I lived there but at the same time it felt as if everything was the same and I had never left.  I tried to resist the temptation to eat at the newest restaurants which had just opened their doors and instead went back to some old favourites.  Alright I may have thrown in one hot new opening…

English asparagus at St John Bread & Wine

English asparagus at St John Bread & Wine

1.  Ottolenghi
I used to live right around the corner from Yotam Ottolenghi’s original Notting Hill cafe and I have suffered serious withdrawals now I am half a world away.  On my first night in London I popped in with my friend Claire to pick up some salads for dinner and get a quick coffee.  There was the usual fabulous display of visually stunning and equally tasty combinations like roasted eggplant with pomegranate and yoghurt dressing.  Of course we couldn’t resist a perfectly petite  blueberry cake with the coffee as well.   Read the rest of this entry »

Posted by: on July 10th, 2014     4 Comments »

Category: Travel - England Tags: ,
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Smell the waffles at Waffee Waffles and coffee

Follow your nose along Swanston street and you’ll end up at the newly opened Waffee.  It’s a tiny store that makes just two things: waffles and coffee.  The smell emanating from the shop is delicious.  Take note Subway with your whiffs of sickly sweet bread – the Waffee smell is sugary but with the delicious aroma of rich coffee thrown in as well.  

Waffles at waffee

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Posted by: on July 7th, 2014     2 Comments »

Category: Cafe, City, Coffee, Lunch Tags: , ,
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