I make no secret of my love of a glass of bubbles and so was very excited to discover a new Italian restaurant opening in Carlton with prosecco on tap. Free flowing prosecco seems to me to be the equivalent of Willy Wonka’s river of chocolate for grown ups.
Thirty Eight Chairs inhabits what used to be the Paragon Cafe, which had a rather colourful history. It’s perfectly situated in a corner position for all day sunlight and dining on the wide front verandah. I was invited to attend the launch of the restaurant but was so enamored that I returned for lunch the next week.
Tap Wines is the technology behind the prosecco on tap and there’s also taps of rose, white and red wine. I stuck to the bubbles which were dry and refreshing. I couldn’t discern any difference in quality from the tapped prosecco and the traditional bottled variety.
While the prosecco on tap was the hook that got me in, it was the food at Thirty Eight Chairs that got me to return. The classic Italian menu features wonderful charcuterie, risottos and of course pasta. After sampling the gnocchi at the launch I had to go back and order a bowlful. Soft little cushions of gnocchi ($25) teamed with sweet cherry tomatoes and creamy mozzarella make for a hug in a bowl.
The crispy cannoli with its creamy filling is the thing to go for on the dessert menu. I managed to eat about four of these little beauties.
Thirty Eight Chairs seems right at home in this lovely part of Carlton (even though the original Thirty Eight Chairs restaurant is in South Yarra). We can all relax in the knowledge that the prosecco is never going to run out here!
Gourmet Chick was a guest at the launch of Thirty Eight Chairs and returned independently.
Details: Thirty Eight Chairs, 651 Rathdowne street, Carlton