Today we have a post from a new guest blogger, Huy – man about town, fine dining aficionado and on a mission to collect as many Michelin stars as possible. Take it away Huy!
Entering the foyer of 101 Collins Street never fails to take my breath away. Nothing gets my heart racing like water features and walls covered in gold leaf, and this building has both in spades. And tucked in the back of the building towards Flinders Lane is The Italian, a moody, sexy restaurant befitting of this prestigious address.
In terms of design, The Italian is pretty much faultless. I loved the dark wood floors, white linen and soaring double heighted ceilings, and the high backed red leather booths where our party was seated provided some welcomed privacy in the exposed space at the back of the restaurant. The elegant Tolomeo wall lamps that softly lit the booths turned the intimacy dial up a few more notches. All that dyed cow hide and flattering lighting makes this restaurant a superb date place. Not that I have yet lived to find out – I road tested The Italian (on the recommendation of Jetsetting Joyce) with the family.
I like Italian food, but don’t often find myself in Italian restaurants when I dine out. It’s sad, but I have begun to associate Italian food with the slap dash pasta dishes made with dried pasta and Dolmio sauces that have become a staple of my home life diet. You see, I’m male, in my early thirties, single – and I usually want a break from routine when I’m eating out. And so it was a joy to be reminded of the variety, sophistication and plain deliciousness of Italian cooking at The Italian.
I have always found the length of Italian menus laughable and The Italian’s menu continues the tradition of offering so much choice that I was a bit lost about what selections to make. The specials that night threw an additional two starters and three mains into the mix!
This is the point in the review where the wheels come off a little – I cannot remember the details of everything our party of six ate. I do recall that we weren’t particularly hungry and decided to share a few plates of fish topped bruschetta to start. It was heavenly, and a testament to the wonders of what good ingredients can do for a simple dish.
For my main, I had pappardelle with duck and mushrooms (one of the specials) which, despite being over salted, was still a very satisfying melt-in-your-mouth, stewish pasta dish ($26). The rest of the family also enjoyed their mains, with the most vocal praises being heaped on the char-grilled rib eye with shitake and oyster mushrooms ($39) and the grilled Yellowfin tuna with potatoes, asparagus, olives and basil ($37).
Take a hot date to The Italian. Don’t skip the starter because chances are that your date will be so impressed, you’ll probably wind up having “dessert” at home.