Back in 2009 on a trip to Melbourne, I wandered up and down Lygon Street asking the spruikers if their pasta was homemade. I didn’t have much luck. In a city renowned for its Italian it was pretty hard to find something authentic. Fortunately times have changed; there are plenty of marvellous pizzas scattered around the city and now pasta is being taken seriously too at Tipo 00 Restaurant.
Firstly, the choice to name a restaurant after the high-quality, finely milled flour used for pasta making is a very good sign.
Being presented with some whipped ricotta on arrival also portends well.
Add in an exceptional wine list and they pretty much had my soul – curated by Raul Moreno-Yague, it comprises a number of local and Italian wines with a focus on italian varietals. With fifteen wines by the glass we took the opportunity to try a few different things.
My buddy started with the 2014 Nardello ‘Merides’ Garganega from Soave, Italy ($13) – fresh citrus, almond and quite textural with a citrus pith character
After hearing it described as highly aromatic, my choice was 2012 Abbasia di Novacella – the grape varietal ‘Kerner’ from Alto Adige, Italy ($16). Kerner is a German grape variety producing riesling-like wines. It was like burying your face in a big bunch of flowers and had quite a slippery texture, lots of stone fruit on the palate and crisp acidity. Exactly my kind of wine.
But you probably want to know more about the food.
We started with Burrata – soft-centred mozzarella with heirloom tomatoes and sourdough ($16)
You’ve heard me rave about burrata before (in fact this probably came from the same place). It was paired with a slightly sweet, fresh tomato relish piled on crouton-like morsels of sourdough.
I felt quite brave ordering the Lingua – grilled ox tongue , balsmaic vinegar and pink peppercorns ($15)
I am a bit tame when it comes to cuts of meat, and it it had looked like a tongue I would have felt pretty challenged. Instead it was a bit like a silky textured bresaola with a burst of peppery sweetness and spice from the accompaniments.
It was time to order another glass of wine and this time my buddy went for 2008 Cobaw Ridge Syrah/Lagrein from the Macedon Ranges, Victoria ($15). It showed lots of dark berries and lovely smooth tannin.
It is rare to see a Valpolicella Classico on a wine list, let alone a Ripasso, so for me the choice was easy: 2012 Speri ‘Ripasso’ Valpolicella Classico, Italy ($17). Valpolicella Classico is usually made from a blend of indigenous varietals Corvina and Rondinella (+/- Molinara) and then ripasso is an extra process where the grapes are fermented on the skin and lees left over after Amarone wines are made. Now, Amarone wines are made by raisining the grapes to concentrate the flavours and are seriously rich, sexy wines. This Ripasso had some bright juicy fruit characters underlaid by savoury herbs and liquorice notes. I was pretty taken with it.
But here is what the night was all about… Pasta!
Asparagus filled tortelloni, parmesan sauce and sage ($24)
Allow me to wax lyrical about the paper thin, perfectly al dente, incredibly light texture of the pasta. I have had homemade pasta before but this was something else. The filling was fresh and light and everything beautifully balanced. We particularly liked that, because we were sharing everything, the pasta arrived in two separate dishes, beautifully presented.
Pappardelle – braised rabbit, marjoram and hazelnut ($27)
It was a night of challenging meats for me, last time I tried rabbit it was labour intensive and full of tiny bones. Plus – bunny 🙁 All the work had been done for me this time and paired with the perfect pasta was tender shredded meat with fresh herbs and a little nutty crunch.
Thankfully, we both have that second stomach for dessert purposes.
Pannacotta – lemon myrtle, almond and mandarin ($14)
Fresh, zesty, creamy, divine.
The Torta del giorno which Google tells me means “pie of the day” ($14) was a deconstructed carrot cake.
It had carrot foam, crunchy cinamonny spicy bits, cakey bits and some kind of gorgeous creamy gelato. I was all a bit too absorbed in the noms to give you a more accurate description. I have no regrets 🙂
The food here is absolutely superb, as is the wine list, as is the service. My parting advice is to book ahead, you don’t want to miss out.