La Luna Bistro

Sadly the Melbourne Food and Wine Festival is finishing but the good news is that you still have until Wednesday (21 March) to try the festival’s Restaurant Express menus.  For $35 you get two courses and a glass of wine at a host of top restaurants across Melbourne.  The deal was a good excuse for me to be a lady who lunches and visit some of the restaurants on my wish list.

House cured pancetta
First up was La Luna Bistro in Carlton.  Housed in a corner terrace in Rathdowne Village the restaurant is in a light, airy room with high ceilings and windows facing out onto the street.   I met Joyce from Mel:Hot or Not there for lunch and we spotted chef and owner Adrian Richardson outside picking herbs and vegetables from the restaurant’s garden which is on the nature strip.  You can’t get much more local or seasonal than that.  I asked Adrian if he had problems with people nicking things from the garden and he said he was happy for them to as it was community land and only objected if people ripped out a whole plant.

Part of La Luna’s vegetable garden
The Restaurant Express menu gave three options for each course and was very meat heavy.  The butcher’s diagram of a pig in La Luna perhaps should have been a giveaway to that.  To start, house cured pancetta so rich with fat that it melted in the mouth and teamed with the tang of pickled capsicum.

Lamb tongue croquettes

Lamb tongue croquettes were crisp and crunchy with a creamy inside, served atop a pool of cooling aioli flecked with artichoke.  The croquettes seemed to be more potato than offal heavy and to me the filling erred on the bland side.

House made bull boar sausages

La Luna’s take on bangers and mash featured house made bull boar sausages and almost liquid pureed mash.  It was topped with crunchy walnuts which added some nice textural contrast.  This was good, solid comfort food but did not excite to the same extent as the headline act of the beef ribs.  The ribs featured tender meat coated in a rich, spicy tomato sauce and scattered with kernels of corn and pepper which added colour and some sweetness to the dish.  It was a knockout.

Beef ribs

The express menu offered a choice of three glasses of wine, and the white was a glass of fresh and fruity trebbiano from Campbells in Rutherglen.  Service throughout was outright friendly and staff were helpful with any questions we had.  While some dishes were more successful than others, overall I was impressed by the ethos of La Luna and the passion evident in a restaurant where both the pancetta and sausages are made in house.  


Details: La Luna Bistro, 320 Rathdowne Street, Carlton North 3054 (Ph 03 9349 4888) Open: Tues – Sun 12 -3pm, 6pm – 10pm.
Damage:  Reasonable with the Restaurant Express menu of $35 for two courses and a glass of wine.

La Luna Bistro on Urbanspoon


  1. Like his attitude on the veg/ herb plot…

  2. Brilliant review as always, but miss your london posts ! X

  3. Oh gosh how I miss Melbs, the food there is the best!

  4. That rib dish looks amazing…

  5. Kavey – Yes it was a great attitude to it.

    Campari and Soda – Thanks – I miss London as well!

    Andi – I agree

    Matarkivet – It was indeed.

  6. I was here for express lunch last year and it looks like they have a similar menu this year!

    I love this place, and want to come back to try the dinner menu. Beautiful photos, too.

  7. Holy moly – boar sausages…. OK, now I am craving those for lunch! Not to mention the melt-in-the-mouth pancetta. Swoon!

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