Tutto Bene

June 10, 2012

28 Southgate Avenue, Southbank

D and I had dinner here for Valentine’s Day. Dinner on Valentine’s Day is always a tad annoying I find, because so many people want to eat out that most restaurants are forced to do two sittings, but even though the meal went quickly, we didn’t feel too rushed and thought that the staff were very friendly. The space is also nicely suited for couples, and looking out at the sun setting over the city is quite romantic.

Finishing early also afforded us time to catch the last rays of sun while strolling along Southbank, which sports one of the best views of Melbourne.

The menu at Tutto Bene, which means ‘All is Good’ (naww) is, unsurprisingly, Italian, and they specialise in risotto. I mean, you could get another dish, but I’ve never been compelled to stray from one of their big, huggable bowls of rice.

We shared a couple of entrees, firstly a hand-made buffalo mozzarella with heirloom tomatoes, basil and pepper sauce. The mozzarella was superb, with a centre like cream; milky and cool.

What a beautiful picture! Vitello tonnato, one of my favourite Italian dishes, is a room-temperature plate of poached veal, prettily pink, with a tuna mayonnaise and capers. It is meaty and salty in all the right places.

I think D’s risotto looks a little bit like a monster made out of goo in this photo, almost as though it’s surging off the plate towards you (though this is undoubtedly my fault for using the macro setting). Makes me think of The Blob (Run! Don’t Walk!). Jokes aside, the risotto con zucca, salvia, noci e taleggio was quite good. I tasted a bit and enjoyed the contrast between the sweet pumpkin and salty taleggio.

I was sorely tempted by the risotto emiliano – three year matured parmigiano reggiano and aged balsamic vinegar from a 1912 mother must, phwoar.

In the end though, it was beaten out by the granchio con pomodoro e peperoncino – blue swimmer crab, tomato and chili. This has a surprisingly strong kick from the chili, but you still taste the underlying sweetness from the crab. And it was perfectly cooked, smooth but with a slight bite to each grain. Also, the risottos took about twenty minutes, assurance that they were being made fresh. One of my favourite risottos of all time.

For dessert we shared a tiramisu, which wasn’t bad, but I felt the distribution of the cream around the coffee-soaked biscuits was inconsistent. One mouthful would be pure cream, the next, dry biscuit. Good consistency of the cream though, not too thick.

As I hinted earlier, what this place does best is risotto, so stick to that. The entrees were excellent, but the the risotto is the star. When you’re in need of a risotto fix, pop over to Tutto Bene!


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Filed under: Italian, Southbank