Sunday, October 18, 2009

il Solito Posto

113 Collins Street
Melbourne 3000, Victoria
Ph: (03) 9654 4466

il Solito Posto is one of those restaurants that you would never see unless you knew it was there. It's hidden off a side street and since the restaurant is situated below street level, you only catch a glimpse of the upper ceiling.

Walking into the restaurant, you instantly get a sense of warmth both from the temperature but also the way the room is lit and furnished. I usually hate dark restaurant, but I think in this case it is acceptable as I felt warmth from the use of lighting. I still preferred they lit the room a tad more. We decided to dine in the main restaurant as opposed to the bistro.

Deciding to skip entrees, we each order mains that caught our eye. I was extremely silly and ordered the Pork Rib. I don't really like pork, and the only time I like it is when it's gelatinous pork belly roasted. I was under the assumption that this dish was like that, but instead was a simple pan fried pork. The sauce was rather bland and I didn't like the rosemary flavour on it.

Kim Anh got the Veal Shanks. I expected this dish to be sensational but again lacked flavour. The risotto wasn't very good and again was bland.

Tori's choice of the Eye Fillet was the best decision. The red wine jus had flavour and worked well with the simply cooked steak. The steak was still a tad overdone.

We ordered desserts to share. We got the Italian donuts, Tiramisu and Chocolate Gnocchi. All the desserts were plated up so beautifully, but on the whole were rather disappointingly bad. The Italian donuts were stale donuts served with a trio of berries. The tiramisu flavours were dominated by the cream.

The Chocolate Gnocchi sounded really interesting but instead we were served three tiny chocolate blobs that tasted of bad chocolate. The baci ice cream served with the gnocchi was sensational and one of the best ice creams I've tasted. I'd eat a whole bowl of that for dessert.

The service was friendly and warm. Our American waiter was very funny and made us feel very comfortable. The atmosphere was fairly muted. My theory is that dark restaurant just naturally cause people to be quieter and more inhibited. I don't like that, as much as I despise not being able to see my dining companions or the menu. Hence, the atmosphere wasn't as good as it could be.

The menu is quite simplistic, but the food is not done well. For such high prices that they are charging (mains in the higher $30), I would expect much better. However, what we got was simplistic dishes that lacked flavour. None of the dessert were any good at all.

Overall Rating: 10/20, A nice warm feel but food a total letdown.

Scores: 1-9: Unacceptable, don't bother. 10-11: Just OK,some shortcomings. 12: Fair. 13: Getting there. 14: Recommended. 15: Good. 16: Really good. 17: Truly excellent. 18: An outstanding experience. 19-20:Approaching perfection, Victoria's best.

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