Thursday, March 06, 2008


74 Bourke St, Melbourne Phone 03 9654 2252

Unfortunately, I never seem to make it to very many Food and Wine Festival events. However, I always make sure that I take advantage of the Express Lunches, that many of Victoria's great restaurant's offer during the festival period. The Express Lunches basically give you a choice from a limited menu of two courses and a glass of local wine for $30. Not bad, considering some of the restaurants involved usually sell a main course for $35+.
Bottega is located between two of this ciy's most well known Italian eateries, one being Pellegrini's and the other being Grossi Florentino - so as you would expect, Bottega has a lot to live up to.
Now, I know that the whole idea is an 'Express' Lunch, but the service at Bottega seemed very rushed and un-personable. I don't know if it simply was because we had ordered from the 'cheapy' menu, or if the service here is generally lacking friendliness.
The food however was exceptional, however the portions were quite small. Again, probably due to us ordering from the Express menu. I hate spending $30 on a lunch and leaving the place wanting to grab a sandwich.

I started with the Carpaccio of house cured duck breast, with fresh figs, goat's cheese and vincotto. This was the first time I'd ever had Cured duck breast. It was delicious. It was like mini strips of prosciutto, but less salty and not quite as chewy. The breast was perfectly matched with the wonderful fresh figs and soft tangy goats cheese.

Mains was Western Plains Pork Rotolo with Sage and Burnt Butter. The pasta was slightly dry on top, not sure if this was because it was grilled under a salamander grill or left under the pass lights for too long. Apart from that, the dish was so tasty! The pork was cooked down until it was completely tender. The pasta was also lovely, smooth and not chewy.
My friend had a dessert instead of an entree, which was the Cannolli of ricotta, hazlenuts and chocolate candied orange with bitter chocolate ice-cream. Considering that the plate was cleaned in a couple of minutes, I assume it tasted pretty good!

An Express Lunch is the perfect way for people to check out a restaurant, which they may not usually go to. If they like it, they'll tell their friends and come back. Not bad advertising, however, if it's no good- you're shooting yourself in the foot. I myself loved the food and was very impressed, but the service, while it was not rude wasn't particularly friendly. Italians are known for their love of food and welcoming people into their homes to share food. Unfortunately, we didn't feel completely welcome here - but like I said, the food was great!

1 comment:

Anna said...

Oh yum... the number of times I've walked past this place. Think I'll need to stop in one day and give the food a try. Thanks for the review!