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Food, wine, coffee

Food, wine, coffee

By Law Institute Journal

Communication Opinions 

Food Pentolina 2/377 Little Collins Street Tucked away in Collins Way, like one of the many eateries hidden in the labyrinthine streets of Rome, Pentolina makes pasta its focus. Opened just last year by ex-Pellegrini chef Matt Picone, the Italian bistro is sleekly fitted out with a curved bar that extends along the length of the restaurant and allows diners to peer into its open kitchen. Arriving at a mostly empty restaurant on a Monday lunchtime, we dive straight into the Fat Chef’s Choice degustation ($65pp). This begins with a Coffin Bay oyster, served au natural but at its finest, flavourful arancini filled with eggplant and oozing fior di latte, and zucchini flowers that are steamed rather than deep fried – a pleasant change – stuffed with creamy buffalo ricotta and balanced nicely with the acidity of a tomato emulsion and dots of vincotto. Finally, there is a small plate of beef carpaccio: thin, pale slices of eye fillet, garnished with capers, parmesan, aioli, and a restrained drizzle of truffle oil. Then comes the pasta. Spaghetti vongole is an understated but simply outstanding plate of al dente pasta, spanking fresh Tasmanian clams, zucchini ribbons, tossed in a little butter, and seasoned with shaved burrata. Next comes an earthy chestnut flour casarecce – finger length, twisted ribbons of firm pasta – served with a wonderful umami braise of porcini mushrooms, asparagus, and topped with shaved pecorino. The third plate in the progression is an all-beef Bolognese layered on pappardelle and parmesan cream. The beef is perhaps a little finely minced and the pasta soft for my taste, but hey, I am nitpicking here about a dish that is packed with meaty creamy flavour. The highly attentive staff choose a 2015 Langhorne Creek Lake Breeze Grenache, which is an excellent, light but peppery accompaniment to our pasta. Dessert is a delicious semifreddo flavoured with limoncello and mascarpone, dotted with meringue, a yummy basil “curd”, and fresh strawberries. It is a perfect way to follow the procession of pasta. I was recently fortunate enough to spend two weeks in Italy, where I had the best pasta I had ever eaten. Pentolina replicated this experience for me, with perfectly crafted and cooked pasta, carefully matched with simple but harmonious combinations of ingredients and textures. Given the universal appeal of pasta, it is hard to imagine anyone leaving here feeling hungry or disappointed. How we rate it: 17/20 18 to 20: Would take my best client here 15 to 17: A safe bet for client entertainment 12 to 14: Best for a lunch with colleagues <12: Life’s too short, try somewhere else Shaun Ginsbourg is a hungry barrister. Wine Taylor’s Estate Clare Valley Riesling 2018 RRP $20 Classically stylish, Clare Valley Riesling is immediately identifiable by the tell-tale, and oh so delicious, lime cordial intensity on the bouquet. It’s the scent of summer: lime leaf, high floral aromatics and concentrated citrus. On the palate it’s pure riesling all the way with apple, nougat and lantana with a slightly elevated acidity, this is 2018 youthfulness, after all. Refreshing and a fitting ambassador for the regional flagship from an experienced maker.Open with Thai prawn curry. Stockists:, IGA Yarraville Ritchies, IGA Mount Waverley, Vintage Cellars Pinewood Yalumba Samuel’s Collection Barossa Shiraz Cabernet Sauvignon 2017 RRP $28 The archetypal Aussie red blend that combines the down-to-earth generosity of shiraz with the poise and structure of cabernet sauvignon is enjoying a moment. Long may it continue. Yalumba has been a long-time promoter of the blend and the recent launch of its new Samuel’s Collection wines saw a fab shiraz cabernet sauvignon included. It’s a star turn for a wine priced under $30. Sweet black cherry, raspberry, nutmeg and cinnamon spices with gentle oak produce a wine blessed with a super friendly personality. Enjoy with lamb casserole. Stockists: Morris Wines Cellar Reserve Muscat RRP $40 Rutherglen winemaker David Morris is one of the most awarded winemakers in Australia. His understated personality belies his ability as a master fortified blender. Rutherglen muscat becomes a world-beater in his hands. The Cellar Reserve is a cellar door exclusive release imbued with classic Rutherglen muscat character from the voluptuous aromas of sweet, dried fruits, roasted nuts with fruitcake, honey and orange peel. The flavour is deeply concentrated and luscious with a toffee, nutty, rancio edge. Serve with florentines. Stockists: Jeni Port is a Melbourne wine writer, author and judge. Coffee Cocoa Bean 140 William Street Conveniently located on the ground floor of 140 William Street, Cocoa Bean is an unassuming café with a big heart. Bright, airy and spacious, this café has a spacious outdoor garden area and plenty of indoor seating, perfect for large catch-ups. Cocoa Bean uses local roaster St Ali’s Orthodox blend, a classic Italian espresso with notes of dark chocolate, butterscotch and hazelnut – and if you bring your keep cup they provide a discount. There is a lot to like about this café, but the stand-out feature is the service. A friend recently sat down for coffee with her mother, who upon taking her first sip accidentally spilt the whole cup. The friendly staff not only replaced the coffee free of charge but kindly threw in a delicious cookie on the house. This café provides a solid range of lunch options including a variety of salads, sandwiches and baked treats – including cookies – to accompany your coffee. SS

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