Thursday, 29 March 2007
Risotto was the first thing I learnt to cook. My father placed me in front of the stove with firm instructions to keep stirring. I carefully ladled warm stock onto the rice, anxiously waiting for the grains to become plump. Accordingly it seems it was about time I made it to Simon Humble’s (ex-Scusami) risotteria Tutto Bene.
A friend and I arrive with an 8pm booking with not a table to be spared. We’re seated outside to peruse the menu and offered what later turns out to be complimentary drinks while we take in the Southbank views. Tick, tick, tick.
After a 20 minute wait we’re finally seated. The interior is warm, romantic and intimate, a little too intimate in some ways. Tables are rather close so if you enjoy a bit of eavesdropping, this is the place for you. Definitely not the place to break up with someone.
The bread is pleasant but the apparently award winning olive oil bearing the Simon Humble label sets it above average. You can take your very own bottle home for $22. Although there’s a wide selection of non-risotto options I’ve come with a mission. My friend’s risotto Isola – pork, veal and chicken with cinnamon and rosemary (18.50) is incredibly flavourful and so different to the usual risotto options that grace most menus. My only criticism is that the temperature seems to suggest the plates are spending a little too much time at the pass.
Without hesitation I decide on the anatra, funghi e salvia - braised duck, porcini mushroom and sage (20.00). It arrives heady with the aroma of porcini but seems to also contain another mushroom. I dare not ask what it is after reading about The Age reviewer who enquired about the type of mushrooms used at an Indian restaurant. The waiter returned after some time to announce “They are Coles mushrooms Sir.”
We finish with the Zabaglione (14.00) which is presented at the table with the waitress whisking the warm mixture in a copper bowl as she pours it over the crushed amaretti biscuits. It’s served with a scoop of ice cream that almost cuts through the intense richness. There's also the gelateria if you want your dessert to go.
Tutto Bene is ideal for a first date or long overdue catch up with friends but with rice this good, who needs a reason to visit?
Ph: (03) 9696 3334