When I was recently invited to try out Carmine's Bistro, I knew I didn't even have to ask L whether he was going to join me. We're both lovers of Italian fair and couldn't wait to try what Carmine's had to offer.
Ricotta panna cotta with green olive oil and tomato. It was basically a caprese salad in a shot glass and absolutely morish!
I've been hearing more and more that Lygon St has been picking up its game again, the food is coming back to higher standards and it's not just a tourist trap. Carmine's is a great example of this. The chef at Carmine's knows what he is doing, which is evident in the selection of dishes and the quality of the food. The spacious restaurant offers a la carte choices or the "Feed Me" option. We went for the "Feed Me" option, which basically means, you get seriously fed! I'm not from an Italian family, but it's exactly what I imagine life with an Italian Nonna must be like, you sit in her kitchen and get fed one delicious morsel after another. Until you can't fit any more in.
The bruschetta came in a variety of four; grilled veggies with ricotta and anchovy on top, grilled eggplant, traditional juicy tomato and prosciutto.
Mushroom Capuccino with onion doughnuts (!!!), this one was one of L's favourite dishes!
Scallops on a slice of homemade bread in a delicious garlicky sauce. One of my personal favourites, the sauce was amazing!
Pea croquettes with a lovely crunchy outside.
Beef carpaccio with the most amazing and zingy lime zest and milk foam. Another favourite!
Lightly battered zucchini and broccoli, with parmesan and aoili.
Pizza the way I like it; just a few good quality ingredients on a thin crust.
Pasta stuffed with lamb ragu and foam. Absolutely delicious and I was slowly getting to that stage where my eyes were bigger than my stomach. I was seriously considering a quick jog around the block (I didn't!).
Another highlight: Papardelle Bugs, we each got half a Moreton Bay Bug atop perfectly al dente papardelle with a creamy cherry tomatoe sauce and drizzled with some green olive oil. Top notch!
Perfectly cooked, medium rare, juicy and tender eye fillet with mushrooms, potato and spinach.
Unfortunately we couldn't fit in any dessert, the menu did offer amazing sounding dishes like Nutella pizza and classics like mixed gelati. We couldn't pass up the shot glass of thick hot chocolate that they have on tap (!!) at the bar.
Carmine's is a great restaurant for families and fine diners alike, with the quality of the chef shining through in every dish. Thank you again to Carmine's Bistro for the invitation, we are glad we've ventured out to Lygon Street again and have discovered a place that offer such delicious Italian food! Carmine's Bistro 234 Lygon St Carlton VIC 3053 Phone 03 9663 3151 www.carminesbistro.com.au Open 7 days for lunch and dinner