Sunday, May 05, 2013

Pinocchio's South Yarra

In the children's novel about Pinocchio, when he lies, his nose starts to grow. Well, my nose is not growing when I tell that Pinocchio's is a very vibrant place to have a meal at. I dined at the South Yarra location on a Friday night and it was bustling. A very boisterous ambiance with all different types of clientele. There were many large families drinking soft drinks, groups of younger people with their cocktails and assorted tables of older clientele drinking wine. People were chatting happily and it was a very comfortable environment for me. I like crowded restaurants with lots of noise as opposed to dead quiet rooms where you can hear a pin drop. It must be my Asian background but the noise doesn't bother me much at all.

The restaurant has been refurbished last year and definitely looks nice and contemporary. Semi industrial elements are scattered around the room, with the walls dominated by large drawings of Pinocchio in silhouette form, very nice.

The menu is split into a number of sections, from small appetisers to large main meals. A huge variety of pizzas freshly made from the wood fired oven cover one side of the menu. We decided to sample a bit of everything, so started with some Pulled Lamb Panini, Mussels in White Wine and Seared Scallops with Apple Puree. The mini panini were quite tasty. I liked the pulled lamb itself but found the bread a bit crunchy. You can't go wrong with a classics mussels dish and this one was really tasty. I loved the fresh mussels and the sauce was really delicious. Lastly, the scallops were pretty good but could have been seared more to get more caramelisation.

The Salami and Goat's Cheese Pizza had really great flavours for the toppings and the base was quite good. It tasted slightly doughy still for me so unsure if that's the recipe or the base could have been cooked a tad longer.

I was told that all the pastas were made in house, so I had to try some. We ordered the Agnolotti, which were stuffed with Moreton Bay bugs. The pasta was indeed very good and perfectly cooked. The filling wasn't too bad but I'd have loved to have some whole pieces of the bugs inside it for that textural change rather than just a paste alone. Presentation wise, this dish was an utter mess. It had this brown/green sauce over it, which while delicious, looked like you know what. And it was splashed across the black agnolotti pasta, so was not a good look. I didn't want to post that photo in case it put you off.

My favourite dish of the night was this really delicious 12 hour braised goat. It was so tender and the flavours were delicious with the peppers, olives and potatoes. I would definitely order this again. Not many places in Melbourne serves goat so if you want some good one, try this dish.

Lastly for dessert, I was really excited as the three items on the dessert platters were some of my all time favourites. However, the pannacotta and cannoli were rather disappointing. The pannacotta had savoury notes which I didn't like. Also, the presentation on this wooden board wasn't working for me. The white sauce splashed all over the board just looks awful. The cannoli was a chocolate one and I found it far too bitter and a bit overcooked for my liking. The tiramisu was the saving grace, and whilst it wasn't fantastic, was pretty good.

If you're after a casual meal in a very vibrant environment in South Yarra to catch up with friends, this would be a great place as the way the menu is structured gives you a lot of options for ordering and sharing. The food is on the whole pretty good, with the goat that I tried a real highlight. For me, none of the desserts excited me and I'd probably skip them and have some ice cream instead. Pricing wise, I think it's on the expensive side. The prices are probably representative of restaurants in that area but for similar prices in other suburbs, you'd get more for your money. If you need to eat in the area, it would be a place I'd go to, otherwise I personally wouldn't make a special trip for it.

My guest and I dined courtesy of Pinocchio's.

Pinocchio's Pizza Restaurant on Urbanspoon


  1. Been hearing lots of good things about this place! The dessert looks good, but shame it's not being received so well :(

  2. That goat looks and sounds amazing! Not many places do goat.. must go!!