Thursday, 9 July 2015

Artusi - Review - Southbank

There are so many restaurants on Southbank and Southgate that it really is difficult to choose.  Thankfully, it seems that prices are not extreme and in general terms you can go to most of them without breaking the bank.  While I would never say that most of them are inexpensive neither do most of them break the bank (well at least from my point of view).

Artusi looks the goods exterior
Artusi looks the goods
Anyway, Artusi has quite the look if you happen to wander past but like all things in this area it is best to book in advance to avoid disappointment.  I don't know how busy Artusi is but we only booked the night before and got a river view of the Yarra so we were not complaining.
Complementary Olives and Bread image
Complementary Olives and Bread
Artusi is an Italian restaurant which does come with its challenges these days.  Us home chefs often think we can outdo restaurants and in many cases we actually can.  Not to disparage Italian restaurants but some of them are pretty average these days.
Selection of cured meats
Selection of cured meats
For starters we opted for the salumi misti or in English, the platter of cured meats and olive Ascolane or meat filled and crumbed olives lightly fired.  The cured meat platter is kind of a standard favourite.  Of course if you love cured meats you are going to be satisfied.  The grilled bread is the obvious accompaniment but doesn't look stunning on the plate.  The pickled vegetables were quite nice but I wouldn't say they were stellar.  As far as a cured meat platter goes it was good but not great.
Olive Ascolane. Very nice!
Olive Ascolane. Very nice!
However, I do like my olives and the olive ascolane is nice.  They probably are quite hard to dress up on a plate but satisfaction is the most important thing.  I would happily order these again.
Pappardelle wild boar with cocoa
Pappardelle wild boar with cocoa
For my main I had the chestnut pappardelle with braised wild boar with cocoa.  I guess you can call this nouveau cuisine.  It was pretty good and thankfully the cocoa taste was not extreme.  I was imagining it tasting too much like chocolate and that would have been a disaster.  This was very likeable although it is not going to appeal to everyone. Chocolate lovers rejoice!
Complimentary arancini balls
Complimentary arancini balls
It was nice to be treated to some complementary arancini balls.  This is a nice touch and they were good as well.  If you want to please your customers this is the way to go.  Very happy.

This was one of the specials of the day, kale with a pork loin steak.  This has some potential but requires perfect cooking of the pork.  Unfortunately the pork was overcooked and with that some of the enjoyment.  If cooked perfectly this would be pretty good although the kale also happened to be a bit strange.  Definitely a disappointment but with that some obvious potential as well.  Kudos for having something different on the menu though.

Finally, the mixed cheese fresh pasta (apologies for my descriptive skills but I actually didn't order this).  If you are after super cheese then this is the way to go.  While regularly common on Italian menu's this kind of dish is still nice and if you love your cheese what's not too like.  Anyway, this was good.  While o the plate it kind of looks like a giant glob of white it definitely tastes a lot better than it looks.  Enjoy.

We got there quite early on a Friday night so this place has got the potential to get very busy.

You may be surprised that I would recommend Artusi to a friend given what I have written above.  What redeems Artusi is that its pricing is very very fair (check it out online), the service was impeccable, its location is great and the food is pretty innovative.

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Rating: 3
Would I go again: Yes
Would I recommend to a friend: Yes

Telephone: (03) 8199 1033
Address: UR1/3 Southgate Avenue, Southbank VIC 3006
Reviewed By: Howie Be

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