Location:35 Little Bourke St, Melbourne Phone:(03) 9650 0988 Link:www.mezzobar.com.au Cuisine: Italian Overall Impression: 7.5/10
Oyster on Little Bourke used to be one of my very favourite restaurants. So I was heartbroken when it closed down at the end of 2009. A restaurant named Mezzo Bar and Grill took its place but I didn't really take notice until I found out it was actually run by the executive chef behind Oyster, Joseph Vargetto! There had actually been an executive and strategic reason behind the change. In essence, Oyster never really "closed down". Instead, there was a name change to showcase Joseph's evolving Sicilian food.
Beautiful bread that was served with delicious extra virgin olive oil
From the moment we arrived, we noticed how lovely the ambience was. It was a formal dining space, and yet the ambience maintained an air of casualness about it. The wait staff that took care of us was excellent. He provided us with great service and care. He was even attentive with the amount of bread we had for the table. And the extra virgin olive oil we had with the bread was seriously divine.
Entree: semolina dusted calamari, shaved fennel and herb salad, salsa of sultanas, lemon and capers
The calamari was cooked perfectly and the accompaniments provided such a balance of acidity to the dish. The crust was crisp, the calamari was tender. And the flavours.. Oh the flavours. There was a burst of Middle Eastern tasting flavours. Which I found very interesting. This is an entrée I would highly recommend.
Main: cavatelli (semolina gnocchi), pork and veal ragu
When I read 'gnocchi' on the menu, this was certainly not what I was expecting at all. In my mind, I thought it would resemble the semolina gnocchi I had at Café Di Stasio. Nevertheless, the pasta was cooked perfectly and the pork and veal ragu was tasty and hearty.
Main: angus porterhouse served with caponata 'messinesi', herb oil
Of all the dishes, this was the biggest let down. The steak itself was tender and perfectly cooked. However, the caponata was not to my liking. The flavours tasted like run of the mill café mixed vegetables you could order on the side.
Dessert: tiramisu della nonna . my nonna's recipe
The tiramisu was great. Everything you would expect from the perfect tiramisu. Every morsel was moreish. It was an excellent way to finish a lovely meal.
Another great thing about Mezzo is that they certainly do not skimp on portion sizes. You *will* leave well-fed. Extremely well-fed.