Rosetta Ris­torante


Where Melbourne - - Dining Reviews - Rosetta Ris­torante, Crown Mel­bourne, 8 White­man Street, Southbank. 8648 1999. rock­pool. com/ rosetta mel­bourne BY PETER MCBREARTY

IT GOES WITH­OUT SAY­ING that any restau­rant es­tab­lished and op­er­ated un­der the aus­pices of renowned chef Neil Perry has an en­vi­able pedi­gree to be­gin with. How­ever while it’s more or less a given that each restau­rant will share sim­i­lar high stan­dards of ser­vice and have a strong em­pha­sis on sourc­ing pre­mium pro­duce, at the same time each also has its own very dis­tinct iden­tity, fo­cus and flavour. Rosetta Ris­torante is Neil Perry’s Ital­ian flag­ship, and flies that flag proudly and to great ef­fect, right down to the house made ri­cotta and also the pasta pro­duced by hand on­site by their pasta spe­cial­ists, in­clud­ing a ven­er­a­ble Ital­ian grand­mother who is ev­ery bit as au­then­tic as the pasta she cre­ates.

Lo­cated on the wa­ter­front prom­e­nade be­side the Yarra River, Rosetta of­fers both in­side din­ing and also the op­por­tu­nity to dine on a heated ter­race with views over the river, along with the op­tion of a pri­vate din­ing room. The im­me­di­ate im­pres­sion on en­ter­ing is one of un­der­stated ele­gance, with chan­de­liers, paint­ings and black and white pho­to­graphs on the wall, and high qual­ity, well-spaced seat­ing en­sur­ing a com­fort­able din­ing ex­pe­ri­ence. Restau­rant man­ager Madeleine Mor­gan over­sees a team of highly ca­pa­ble staff who are at­ten­tive and in­for­ma­tive, both with re­gard to the din­ing menu and also the ex­ten­sive wine list.

The menu it­self is equally ex­ten­sive, and likely to ap­peal to a broad swathe of din­ers, be they in search of purely Ital­ian dishes, or wish­ing to en­joy a course from the wood­fired oven or char­coal grill. Al­most manda­tory as a se­lec­tion from the An­tipasti menu is the Ri­cotta Fresca, creamy house made ri­cotta with mar­i­nated cap­sicum, an­chovy, gar­lic and ca­pers—ir­refutable proof that sim­ple pre­mium in­gre­di­ents are of­ten the surest recipe for suc­cess. Sim­i­larly, char­coal grilled prawns (Gam­beri) served with orange gre­mo­lata and lardo are a pic­ture of sim­plic­ity on the plate, but prove to be de­li­cious suc­cu­lent morsels, redo­lent of their time on the smoky grill. Other smaller dishes may in­clude meat­balls oven baked in pi­quant tomato sauce, veal tongue with tuna may­on­naise and an­chovy toast, char­coal grilled squid with ex­tra vir­gin olive oil, chilli and lemon, or per­haps beef carne cruda with chilli pecorino and cured egg yolk.

Choos­ing a main course from those on of­fer is a de­light­fully chal­leng­ing process, with whole fish and fowl avail­able from the wood fired oven, a wide ar­ray of pasta and risotto, fresh meat and seafood from the char­coal grill, a range of Ital­ian favourites and even (with 24 hours no­tice) the op­tion of a roasted whole goat’s shoul­der from the wood fired oven. A lack of choice is very def­i­nitely not an is­sue at Rosetta. One pop­u­lar pasta dish is the ag­nolotti with roast rab­bit, veal and pork—al­though equally tempt­ing are the gnoc­chi with braised lamb shanks and ri­cotta salata, and the tagli­olini with span­ner crab, gar­lic, chilli and pars­ley. Grilled duck breast with roasted blood plums, and Si­cil­ian olive salsa ar­rives per­fectly pink and is ev­ery bit as de­lec­ta­ble as it looks, while Cor­ner In­let King Ge­orge whit­ing from the grill is sourced by Rosetta’s reg­u­lar fish­er­man, and the steaks on of­fer in­clude a Cape Grim grass fed tra­di­tional (and enor­mous) Bis­tecca Fiorentina, best suited ei­ther to a cou­ple, or a se­ri­ous fan of ex­cel­lent beef, with a very sub­stan­tial ap­petite.

To fin­ish there are some ex­cel­lent Ital­ian cheeses on the menu, how­ever din­ers may well find it dif­fi­cult to forgo desserts such as pis­ta­chio can­noli with cherry com­pote and olive oil cake, the frozen choco­late, peanut and co­conut semi freddo, the tiramisu, and an­other sim­ple, but subtly de­li­cious dish—the buf­falo yo­ghurt panna cotta with poached apri­cot amaretti crum­ble. Ul­ti­mately Rosetta is just as sat­is­fy­ing as their panna cotta, and their re­sult­ing pop­u­lar­ity means that reser­va­tions are very def­i­nitely ad­vis­able.

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