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Friday, February 08, 2008

Dinner @ Cafe Latte

Cafe Latte seems to have been around forever, in reality it opened its doors in 1992 and for the last few years has positioned itself to specialise in Puglian cuisine. A region of Italy I've yet to visit but would very much like too.

It has been a few years between visits so I'm most eager to see where things are at.

We arrive to quite a lively restaurant and after a bit of table confusion we are seated. After ordering some Prosecco to begin with, we are offered the wine list. 10 minutes elapse before the waiter returns asking if we'd decided on a wine. Apart from having a rather confused look on his face at the question, Paalo then had to ask for the menu.

Hmm. I don't know about you but I kind of like to look at the menu first and work out what I'm going to eat before choosing a wine.

After spending some time with both menus we settle on our order. We decide on a bottle of 2004 Antonelli Sangrantino di Montefalco DOCG - the last time we enjoyed this wine was during our stay in Umbria.

Before we start on the food I must say that the photos are not the best as the light was quite poor for photo taking but fine for dining.

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Antipasto della casa ($17.50)
This is a serving for one that we are sharing - on the board we find a vegetable frittata, buffalo mozzarella, prosciutto, anchovies on rocket, stuffed mushroom, mixed olives, risotto ball

Paalo thought that some of the items could have been served a little warmer than they were.

Next we have pasta

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Cavatelli con Ragu di Carne - Cavatelli served with Veal Ragu ($16.50)

Paalo's choice - the ragu was very tender and just fell apart.

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Orecchiette con Gamberi e Zucchine - Orecchiette with Prawns and Zucchini ($18.50)

The orecchiette unfortunately were undercooked - I couldn't help but be reminding on an experience in Italy when ordering Pasta, the Chef asked if we wanted it cooked "al dente or correctly." It seems that pasta has gone from being served up like mush to being served up crunchy. Risotto has seemed to have followed this path as well with so many resembling fried rice.

Other than the pasta problem, the rest of dish was fine with a very generous amount of prawns used. If anything, we both thought these pasta dishes were way too big for a starter.


For mains:

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Paalo's choice: Scaloppine di Vitello con Asparagi - Pan fried Veal Scaloppine with Lemon, White wine and Asparagus ($32.50)

A bit too much lemon used for Paalo's liking - I thought that that the wine hadn't quite evaporated leaving a sharp taste.

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I have the Rotolo di Coniglio con Prosciutto - Rolled Farmed Rabbit stuffed with air cured ham and lemon rind ($34.50)

Tasty but it's always a bit off-putting when you find a piece of bone in the stuffing - it certainly makes you weary of each mouthful.

For dessert

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Paalo's choice: Panna Cotta con le Pere - Vanilla Panna Cotta with Poached Pears ($13.50)

One of the better versions - it walks that delciously fine line between solid and liquid with just enough gelatine to have set it.

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Sfogliatina con Mele and crème anglais - Puff pastry with apple and crème anglais($13.50)

I wanted something light and this was an ideal dish. Wonderfully crisp pastry presented simply.

We certainly couldn't help but notice that the place is full of regulars and the regulars also seem to know each other. The service towards them was of a different standard to that offered to us. It does pay to be known here. It certainly is worth another visit - if only to enjoy the Sangrantino.

The details:
Cafe Latte
521 Malvern Road, Toorak
Phone: 9826 5846

Open:
Mon - Sat: 8am til Late (Breakfast - Lunch - Dinner)
Sun: 9am - 3pm (Brunch)

web:
http://www.cafelatte.com.au/

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