Restaurant Review: Scugnizzo

Location: 558 Little Bourke Street, Melbourne
Phone: (03) 9670 5622
Overall Impression: 4.5/10 
After reading review upon review lavishing praises on Scugnizzo, I was excited when the opportunity to dine there finally arose. Located in an alley way, it was the perfect scene for a Melbourne culinary gem.
As soon as we were seated, we were served with beautifully crusty bread, butter and the most delicious extra virgin olive oil. On top of that, we were greeted with a complimentary serve of antipasto that consisted of predominantly olives and pumpkin pieces. It was all very nice. It was an excellent start to the night.

Unfortunately, the brilliant start was not indicative of what was to come. After we had placed our orders, we waited for approximately an hour and a half before our meals finally arrived. Needless to say, this was rather disappointing given the restaurant was not very busy at all.

We shared all our food that night and as a whole, the dishes were incredibly underwhelming, especially in terms of flavour and balance. For example, the entrée of mussels that we had was overly sour. All I could taste was vinegar and this completely masked the sweetness and subtlety of the mussels.

We also ordered from the specials board that night. One of the dishes that we thought would have a lot of promise was the veal. The flavours were surprisingly monotonous. On top of that, it was also clearly lacking basic seasoning.
Entree: Cozze gratinate $10
Gratin of Mussels with rocket, sundried tomato, reggiano and vincotto
Entree: Grigliata di calamari $19
Grilled calamari with roast cherry tomato and spring onion salad
Pasta: Bucatini con Sarde e Bottarga $24
Bucatini with sardines, bottarga, broad beans and puttanesca sauce
Main: Saltimbocca alla Napoletana $34
Veal Saltimbocca with prosciutto, scamorza and tomato sauce
Pasta: Gnocchi di mare allo zafferano $25
House made saffron gnocchi with scallop ragú, grilled scampi and salsa verde
Risotto Piemontese $24
Grilled butterflied quail with porcini and gorgonzola risotto
Ambience wise, Scugnizzo is amazing. I loved the brick walls that cleverly retained a warm and cosy atmosphere. I loved the perfect amount of lighting. I loved how the place was set up.
Yes, I truly wanted so much to love this place and the food.
Unfortunately, our expectations were not met that night. I don’t mind paying $34 for a beautiful hearty plate of veal with flavours synonymous with rustic Italian cuisine but what we received was far from that.

Scugnizzo has quite a limited menu. In that menu, the offerings portray simple, Italian ‘soul’ food but at the same time demands top end prices. As such, we expected the delivery to be right on the money. Suffice to say, we left disappointed that night.
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