Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Review :: Pellegrini's Espresso Bar

"Beauty in Simplicity"
Many restaurants fail to impress because they can't do the simple things well. They spend too much time devising extravagant menus and impressive decor yet forget to properly cook their food or give prompt service. Pellegrini's is not one of these restaurants. In fact, Pellegrini's only does the simple things. They only serve pasta and coffees and the layout hasn't been updated since the 1950s but what they do serve is delicious and the service is prompt, friendly and unpretentious.

The long narrow layout at the top of Bourke St in Melbourne's CBD doesn't leave room for many tables, so most diners sit at a long narrow table facing the side wall or at the espresso bar. If there is room in this bustling restaurant I would definitely recommend sitting at the bar. This will give you a chance to talk to the barista, who unobtrusively joined our conversation and offered his advice on love, life and women.

Gnocchi is the dish that sets a true Italian restaurant from the pretenders - there are so many things that can go wrong, and often do. Pellegrini's handmade gnocchi was delightfully soft and creamy yet firm enough to hold its own in the rich napolitana sauce - a balance that is rarely achieved and was a testament to the experience of the cooking staff. All the pasta's are cooked by 'grandpa' in the small kitchen out the back that you walk through to access the bathroom.

The pricing is simple and great value - all pastas are $15 and all drinks hot or cold are $3. All pastas are served with a slice of pre-buttered bread to soak up the remaining pasta sauce from the plate - which you will definitely want to do. Their coffee is faultless, but I don't think you can go past the blood orange granita - a perfect complement to any of the pastas.

Pellegrino's, established in the 1950s - found the winning formula a long time ago. So long as they don't change - I will keep returning.


66 Bourke St Melbourne CBD