Guy Grossi's Florentino is a Melbourne institution. We ate at his upstairs restaurant called The Restaurant. Guy is one of the many celebrity chefs doing the rounds in Australia now and is currently the co-host, with Maeve O'Meara, of SBS television's Italian Food Safari. Italian Food Safari is well worth catching by the way, and is on Thursday nights at 7.30pm.
But to The Restaurant. It is expensive. We knew that when we booked of course but it still seems a tad overpriced for the degustation menu. It is fine Italian dining and it is a 2 Hat restaurant but price wise it up there with the most expensive restaurants in Australia. Enough nit-picking, on to the food.
First up we had a palate cleanser or amuse bouche of some sort of creamy cheese concoction. For the life of me I can't remember exactly what it was. Moira and Michelle thought it tasted like baby food. I thought it was delicious though and bode well for the rest of the meal.
Moonlight Flat Oysters. Australia's best artisanally finished native oysters from Batemans Bay, natural with lime dressing.
Not photographed. Good oysters though. Moira and Michelle had one each and I managed to snag the other couple for myself.
We felt sorry for the couple on the left above. They were obviously waiting for another couple who did eventually turn up but they waited for well over a hour. I would have been more than a little annoyed.
Salumi. A plate of salumi hand crafted by Tony Sgro for Guy Grossi, Felsina extra virgin olive oil, cinerinio.
About as good salumi as we've had in Australia. Very very tasty. Almost melt in your mouth.
Scallops Half Shell with almond crust.
Perfectly seared scallop with a tasty almond crust. What more can I say but tasty. Well I could mention they were nine bucks a pop but that would naughty of me.
Sardines 'Pangrattato'. Crab filled, speck, 'Pangrattato', tomato sorbet, watermelon, balsamic, basil leaves.
What a star. If you like sardines you would love this. I expected a couple of fried sardines on a plate but the got this stuffed and rolled delicacy.
Risotto 'Venere'. Venere rice, Moreton Bay Bug, Parmesan Sabayon.
Risotto is one of things that can be really fudged up. This was as good a risotto as you could expect. Bursting with flavour and the rice just pops in your mouth. Moira and Michelle had this but I was able to extract a spoonful from them. So glad I did.
Zucchini Flowers, 'Caponata Siciliana', minted ricotta filled, endive, pumpkin juice.
Yummy. 'Nuff said.
Peppered Scallop Ravioli lemon, garlic, foie gras, peas.
Lovely big meaty scallops. Nice foie gras. I'm working my way through a mini-degustation of my own. I didn't go for the full degustation menu so I've sort of created my own by selecting a few entrees. The waiters thought it was amusing me ordering so much. Stuff 'em. I wanted to try a few things.
Duck and Wild Mushroom Tortellini. Intense duck jus, caramelised pear.
This was another dish the girls shared. I didn't have any but Michelle thought it was drier than she expected but Moira quite liked it. Michelle says she is inspired to attempt to make it herself. Can't wait for that one.
My fellow reviewers, Moira and Michelle. Half tanked they are. Not really - only joking ladies.
The man himself, Guy Grossi, poked his head into the dining room occasionally to check out proceedings. If I'd had a couple more myself I might have gone up to him asked him for a photo. Next time maybe.
'Carpretto' Baby Goat Wet Roast, Chestnut Flower Honey, Parsley Crisp, Goat's Cheese Gnocchi, Peas.
This was another share dish for the girls. Apparently the gnocchi was perfect. The goat may have been a little gamey but on the whole was quite good.
Suckling Pig, fried polenta... and other assorted delicious flavours. It was one of the specials for the day and not in the main menu and I didn't to take notes so I can't tell you exactly how it was described on the menu. Bloody lovely though. Rich, tender, moist and the crackling crackled. This was good pig.
Pre-dessert dessert. Again, can't remember what it was. I do remember it was sweet and delicious.
Cannoli 'Croquant', Burnt Butter Ice, Mango.
Michelle was looking forward to this. Grossi's cannoli had been featured on the first episode of Italian Food Safari and looked quite delicious. Michelle liked it but thought it was only okay - it didn't have the wow factor she was hoping for.
Valrhona Chocolate Souffle, Malt Ice Cream and Chocolate Sauce.
Look at the photo above. See the lean in the souffle? Now click here and check out Michelle's chocolate souffle. Which do you think looks better? Look, it was okay but was it worth 26 bucks? Probably not.
Petit fours and caffe.
To write up this post I downloaded the menu from the Grossi Florentina website so I could get the details of the menu items we had right. I just realised our coffees were 8 bucks each. Sheeeit. I should've read the menu more closely on the night. As you can see from the picture above we only had 4 petit fours between the three of us. That is a bit rich. Usually, at other hatted places, we get a minimum of 4 when there is only Michelle and I. One place even packaged up another 8 for us to take home when we said we had enjoyed them so much. Again, see previous post, the waiters had no idea what a piccolo latte is. After we explained we got macchiato's and a jug of steamed milk so we could top them up to our hearts content.
On the whole we did have an excellent evening in The Restaurant. The service was friendly and attentive without being stuffy and in your face. Some of the dishes where superb and some were just okay. Nothing wrong with that but for the price you pay here you do expect a bit more of that 'wow' factor. It is still one of the better Italian meals I've eaten but I think Simone's in Bright shades it just that little bit. Coincidently Patrizia Simone from Simone's also made an appearance on the first episode of Italian Food Safari a few weeks ago too.
Grossi Florentino is a Good Food Guide Guide 2 Hat awarded restaurant and is at 80 Bourke Street in Melbourne, Victoria.