Itali Co

I have wanted to write this one up right from the beginning, but really struggled to start for every time I tried, it bubbled up salivation-inducing memories wrangling with a residual feeling of over-indulgent-satiety even post several months. First world problems…

Only appearing on the St Kilda restaurant scene just earlier this year, it is the newest branch from the Itali-Co Brand, bringing together the talents of Remo Nicollini (restauranteur) and Lino Maglione (master pizza maker) and head chef Piero Roldo who really likes to have things done his way, i.e. the original and traditional way.

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I alongside several other bloggers (See Ashley and Joyce’s writeups) were lucky enough to be invited earlier this year to try out their Autumn menu (apologies, the menu may have changed since). A quick show and tell around the kitchen, and onwards to several masterclasses: squid ink tagliolini, wood fired pizza perfection. Their state of the art wood-gas-fired-oven takes the best of both worlds to produce pizzas with the smoke and crunch of wood fire, with the consistency that comes with gas.

A lighter start to the meal… 

King fish carpaccio with marinated strawberries // Cauliflower pannacotta with pan fried Canadian scallops.

Slow cooked boneless rack of rabbit filled with sun-dried tomatoes, olives and basil // Red cabbage strudel

Black ink tagliolini, moreton bay bugs, snapper, calamari, prawns and fresh tomato. Al dente, packed with all the moreish juices of the sea… and … and.. (really struggling for words here). What can I say, it was just simply gorgeous!

Duck ravioli with caramelised figs, finished off with Marsala

Slow cooked beef cheek with red wine reduction, potato puree and green beans

Pan-fried crispy skinned barramundi served with a eggplant caponata and mussels.

From the oven: Bunga Bunga – with Italian sausage, smoked scamorza, friarielli // Giulia – with tomato, imported DOP buffalo mozzarella, fresh basil // Tartufata – with white truffle cream, fresh mozzarella, mushroom and parmesan, rocket // Calzone napoletano – a folded pizza with a ton of cheeses: buffalo ricotta, cacciatore salame, smoked & fresh mozzarella, parmesan.

While it is a big call to be voted as one of the best pizza(s) in Melbourne 2013 (Epicure’s ‘Good-Food-under-$30’ guide), I must admit their $50,000 Mariana pizza oven does churn out a smok’n hot wood-fired pizza!

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Cassata – a Sicilian sweet, akin to a sponge cake with ricotta, fruit and nuts.

Nutella pizza with strawberries.

By this time, we probably had enough food to feed an extended family of 30 people… aside the pizzas, we had individual serves of every single dish!!!!! P.S. some dishes were portioned smaller so we could fit in more.

Rating: Yummy+1.5, pretty close to 2I am not usually one to dine or easily recommend Italian to friends, but this is one of those few Italian places around Melbourne that I would. It is neither exorbitantly expensive with the likes of celebrity chef restaurants (*cough, Rosetta), nor archaic and commercialised like so many along Lygon street, but brings a bit of Italian countryside to St Kilda luxe. There was plenty of fresh produce, lively notes, hearty plates, amazing pizzas, and not to mention a decadent finish with a nutella pizza.

P.S. If you had only one dish to pick, DEFINITELY TRY the hand made black ink tagliolini with moreton bay bugs. My favourite of the night!

P.S.2 Itali Co currently has a Monday special: $12 all pizzas.

[Itali Co]
Where: 1/173-177 Barkly St, St Kilda
Contact: 03 9537 5300
Open daily for dinner.

[Disclaimer: I dined courtesy of Itali Co & Zilla & Brook]

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  • Food RATING scale

    Unpleasant: damn upset my desire to eat

    Average: palatable but many shortcomings

    Yummy: a pleasant experience

    Yummy +1: mouth-watering like rain

    Yummy +2: exquisite flavours that hit all the right notes

    Divine: sheer culinary perfection!

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