21 October 2008

Tutto Bene

Mid-level Southgate
Southbank 3006
Ph: (03) 9898 3334

THERE'S been plenty of talk about the risotto at Tutto Bene. And for good reason. The Southgate Italian restaurant boasts a Risotteria, presided over by master risotto chef Simon Humble.

New on the risotteria menu this week was Risotto Funghi Misti ($20), or mixed wild mushroom, parmigiano and aromatic herbs and Salsiccia di cervo con lenticchie al vino rosso ($24) or Venison sausage with Victorian red lentils and red wine.

Both were perfection in terms of texture and the balance of flavours - something many of us strive to achieve when making risotto at home, but never succeed.

A rocket and parmesan salad ($8) and generous serves of bread dipped in Tutto Bene's own brand of Australian extra virgin olive oil were superb accompaniments.

With regional mixed olives and almonds in oil as a tasty snack to start ($5.50), it made the perfect midweek lunch.

Other risottos on the to do list include Al Presidente which is described as a unique combination of 3 year old parmigiano and balsamic vinegar, produced from a 1912 mother must, created by Simon Humble chef for the Italian President visiting Australia ($23). Impressive.

Another is Porcini e tartufo bianco - Porcini mushroom and white
truffle infused with extra virgin olive oil ($26), and Ragu di pesce e spinaci - Sauteed spinach risotto with a ragu of blue eye in tomato and Sicilian capers ($25.50).

Risotto purists have nothing to fear as classic risottos lead the list including Risi e bisi - (from the Veneto region) - Fresh peas,pancetta, shallots and parmigiano ($22) and Caprese - Tomato, basil and bocconcini mozzarella ($22).

Tutto Bene is not just about risotto and serves stylish dishes including Quaglia al forno con sugo di fagioli bianchi e guanciale croccante - Osso bucco Milanese ($33), Roasted boneless Yarra Valley quail with cannellini beans, tomato and thyme and crispy pork cheek ($34.50), Cotoletta di vitello arrosto con salsina di balsamico e cipolla - Oven baked rib of veal with balsamic and shallots ($36) and even a 300g wagyu - Bistecca di Manzo con piselli e parmigiano - Seared rump of wagyu beef wth spring pea and parmigiano. ($55.50).

Award winning gelato is also on the menu, with a gelateria springing up outside the restaurant in the warmer months with seasonal flavours including chestnut and dark grape and tira mi su, blood orange.

With a couple of house chardonnays ($9), a camomile tea ($3) and sparkling water ($5.50), lunch left us no change from $80 before tip.

A classic, classy establishment delivering beautifully crafted Italian food. It's terrific balcony overlooking the Yarra and the city is another drawcard.