Melbourne’s newest openings: Circa Yaktiroi Bar, Rosa’s Kitchen and Etto

Melbourne is hard to keep up with sometimes.  There’s always new restaurants opening and closing and there has been a rash of them lately.  I’ve been invited along to a few of the newest places and have also gone under my own steam to check some out.  So here’s my take on three of them: the pop up yakitori bar at Circa, Rosa’s Kitchen and Etto.

Carbonara pasta at Etto 

Circa Yakitori bar
Melbourne’s newest opening is a pop-up yakitori bar at top Melbourne restaurant Circa at The Prince.  In the bar area which serves as an entrance to the the restaurant proper you can now get the type of food you might find at Izakaya Den and served with Japanese beers and sake cocktails.  Hot off the grill, skewers of wallaby with quandong caramel ($9) gave an Australian twist to Japanese bar food.  Hitting onto every trend that’s happening in town there is also a bao bar with fluffy baos filled with sticky pork and green mango ($15).

Skewers of seared tuna at Circa’s Yakitori Bar

It’s all good food to accompany drinking and Friday nights are the best night to go with $5 yakitori and baos.  There’s also a deal for a bottle of Laurent Perrier and five pieces of yakitori for $50 – a very glamorous bargain if I ever saw one.  I like the food on offer at the yakitori bar and it’s a shame it’s not been given a more permanent status rather than only popping up for a month or so.  The surroundings still just feel like a holding pen for Circa rather than its own venue.

Circa – Pork belly baos, sake cocktails and seared beef

Details: Circa, 2 Acland St, St Kilda (Ph 03 9536 1122).
Damage: Pricey

Rosa’s Kitchen
Much loved chef Rosa Mitchell is back in the city with the opening of Rosa’s Kitchen in Punch Lane.  Rosa made her name at Journal with her home style, honest Italian cooking which tasted like the sort of thing your nonna would make if you had one.  I went there with my friend Magda for a quick weekday lunch catchup.

Orecchiette at Rosa’s

 Rosa’s new restaurant is simple and sunny with whitewashed walls, bright pops of colour and a changing menu which is written up on blackboards.  The pasta is spot on – al dente orecchiette ($22) which is served with cauliflower, saffron and crisp bread crumbs to add a bit of crunch.

Slow cooked rabbit at Rosa’s

Our waitress cheekily describes the main of slow cooked rabbit as “Easter bunny” as she serves it up.  The rabbit is cooked to the stage that the meat is disintegrating and its served with an incredibly rich sauce thanks to the addition of chocolate.  It’s great to have Rosa back and cooking in the city.

Details: Rosa’s Kitchen, 22 Punch Lane, Melbourne 3000 (Ph 03 96622883) Open: Tue to Sat 12:00 pm – 11:00 pm
Damage: Pricey.  Our bill for two came to $60.
8/10 Rosa's Kitchen on Urbanspoon

You may not have heard of Etto before but you will soon because this fast food style pasta bar has clearly been created to be rolled out across Melbourne.  The concept of a cheap, quick takeaway joint for pasta is a good one but the first store in South Melbourne is just across from the Coles so it is lacking a little in terms of atmosphere.  The name Etto comes from an Italian weight measurement and Etto underlines its authenticity with freshly made pasta and the use of local produce like Mount Zero olives and Meredith Goats Cheese (my favourite).  You can mix and match the pastas and sauces and the combination of the spicy Italian sausage sauce with tagiatelle ($12) and topped with a dollop of vibrant green pasta was a winner.

Etto sells Italian style soft drinks, spicy sausage pasta and has an outdoor seating area

While Etto’s take on carbonara ($12) was tasty it was disappointing that the sauce was made using cremΓ© fraiche giving it a strange sweet flavour instead of the traditional way which just uses eggs to make the sauce.  If you accept that Etto is essentially a fast food restaurant and a chain in the making – it offers a good, cheap way to get a feed Italian style.

Details: Etto, 261 Clarendon Street , South Melbourne 3205 (Ph 9696 3886) Open: Mon-Fri 11.30am – 9.30pm, Sat-Sun Midday – 9.30pm.
Damage: Such a bargain my mother would approve.  Our bill for two came to $30.
Etto - Italian Street Pasta on Urbanspoon

Gourmet Chick was invited to review Circa’s pop up Yakitori Bar and Etto.  


  1. Whenever I travel to Melbourne it’s hard to know where to start eating as there is so much choice! I like the sound of the Circa Yakitori bar, love yakitori. I’ll be in Melbourne for the weekend end of April. Where’s the best place to get yakitori in Melbourne?


  2. Oh I would collect all the vintage looking soft drink bottles! So cute!

  3. Gosh there are seriously too many restaurants opening up in Melbourne πŸ™‚ I can’t keep up but would love to try both Rosa’s kitchen and Etto πŸ˜€

  4. Melbourne is TOO hard to keep up with! I was meant to go to Circa, wish I did since it’s not permanent πŸ™ wah! Etto looks lovely!

  5. Blue Apocalypse – Yes we are spoilt for choice in Melbourne. I really like Izakaya Den as well for yakitori.

    MsIHua – I didn’t think of that but now I wish I did.

    Daisy – I know it is hard to keep up.

    Iron Chef Shellie – you could still get down there tomorrow night!

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