Saturday, November 29, 2008

Villa Romana: Italian Food in Melbourne

I use to stay a 101 Grattan Street, which is a stone's throw away from Lygon during my undergrad and masters uni years. It wasn't intentional but I was happy there cos it was close to good food, particularly Italian.

It's good to be back here, & the food is still as good as ever, especially in certain restaurants. But do be careful, Lygon does not equate good food. So dont expect gourmet delights without prior research or recommendations and by just walk-in. We have been throwing challenges at Roger and so far he has been doing well in accomplishing his tasks set before him - designated driver, designated food planner & food tour director.

Tonite, on our 3rd nite in Melbourne, after the heavy lunch at Tuck's Ridge vineyard, we went to a place called Villa Romana, along Lygon St. We don't know how we managed to tuck dinner in but we did after all. Guess that is why my face and waist are growing 2 inches wider in just 3 days.

For those of you who are not familiar with Melbourne, Lygon has been featured in almost all Australian travel articles and promotional video clips.

It is a whole street full of restaurants and cafes featuring mainly Italian, Greek and some Mediterranean and a handful of French cuisine places. Restaurants are quite competitive for business here. As we passed a stretch of other restaurants before this one, there were people calling out to us all along the way.

We had to take a photo of this thing here. It's basically a heater that looked something like a crossover between an oil lamp & a lampost. It was a cold night, freezing to be exact, & this was just perfect. And I think it ran on gas cos it's quite bulky at the bottom.

Roger has been quite adventurous as of late, & he kept harping on about this possibly Italian alternative Coke-like drink called Chinotto.

Greg liked this. It has a bit of bitter lemon taste to it & it's perfect with heavy meals & for a hot day (which wasn't tonite). It did taste a bit like Coke.

And then there was the Strawberry Daiquiri, which was like a thick 100% all-stawberry juice without sugar. It's definitely something that you can't find in Malaysia - the land where all drinks have sugar.
Another substitute for Zapple, the Appletizer! Guess where it is made -South Africa!

The Duck Salad ~ Really crispy duck breast, with a bed of garden salad tossed with mangos and macadamia nuts ~ Seriously Beautiful!

Linguini Vongole ~ An upgraded version of Aglio-olio. Very well done and balanced, clams were fresh and not overpowering and it was very tasty for a simple dish like this!

Fetuccini Villa Romana ~ The restaurant's signature dish.

Very interesting cream based pasta with roasted chicken, apple and mustard seed. Wonderful idea of balancing the richness with apple and mustard! But it was slightly dry when we had it. Roger was a little disappointed. He mentioned that if we didn't like it, he would pay for dinner. Well he did not have to. It was good, just not perfect!

The restaurant had a good ambience. Waiters were not pushy and service was relatively good. Decorations were warm and perfect for a night out. Edit: I forgot to mention that Villa is strict about no take aways for their pastas.

To get there, take any tram from Swanston St, which stops at Grattan St. Get off and walk towards Lygon. The restaurant is a few shops before you hit the corner of Grattan and Lygon.


Anonymous said...

You didn't take a picture of the model looking blonde :(

Anyway, food is not as important as good companionship. It is sad if you have to eat fine food alone. Equally bad is your companion for the night just swallow the food without appreciating it.

So bravos to both of you!

Terri @ A Daily Obsession said...

yi used to live off lygon (next to brunetti; check out their cakes). i've never eaten anything good on lygon st, except for the gelati. i equate lygon to chinatown, commercial & touristy, where the 'true' gourmets never eat.

Anonymous said...

Annon: Woei Roger ka? only you would know about the blonde.

A Terri: think that it is mentioned in this post that not all of lygon equate good food. Even gelato, only freddo taste good. the others sucks.

villa romana is good for our standard, one of those good ones and i forgot to mentioned that it one of those restaurants there that does not allowed take away.

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