Thursday, 29 March 2007

Posh Rice

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?

Tutto Bene
Mid-Level Southgate
Ph: (03) 9696 3334


Brilynn said...

"pork, veal and chicken with cinnamon and rosemary"... that really is an interesting combination. I might have to try something like this myself...

Truffle said...

Brilynn- it certainly was very different! My guess was that the meats had been cooked like a ragu, flavoured with rosemary and shredded. There was a piece of cinnamon bark in the rice so I assume that's how it was incorporated. Surprisingly a winning combination but a tricky balance to pull off.

Kazmic said...

With your expertise, I'm glad you liked Tutto Bene. I loved it when I went there last and have been meaning to go back and was eagerly reading your review. I had the Al Presidente Risotto, i.e. with 2 year old parmigiano and balsamic vinegar: Simple, flavoursome and highly recommended.

Lucy said...

Never been. Must go, and very soon.

Dessert sounds absolutley heavenly - those little amaretti make the best desserts. Ever.

Nice to have discovered another Melbourne blogger.

thanh7580 said...

Firstly, I have to agree with Lucy and say how great to find yet another Melbourne blogger. It's good to read about places that you can actually go to. I must go through the exhaustive link on Tummy Rumbles soon and find out about everyone's blog.

Secondly, the food sounded great, and the view is fantastic. I don't mind a bit of eavesdropping too hahaha.

Thirdly, at least the Indian waiter was honest, what a classic.

Truffle said...

Thanks so much Kazmic. The Al Presidente sounds gorgeous and a good reason for a repeat visit!

Thanks Lucy, it was nice to discover yours too!
The dessert was sinfully rich but light as air. Thanks for posting :)

Thanks for popping by Thanh. Ed at has another great Melbourne blog list.