Every big city around the world has a “Little” or a “Town”. What do I mean by this? I mean culinarily speaking – Chinatown, Little Italy, and so forth.
Sydney’s Little Italy is widely regarded to be Norton Street in Leichardt. Die-hard Italian connoisseurs swear by it; I’ll have to take their word for that, as I haven’t actually been myself. Besides, I’m confident Fratelli Fresh is more than satisfactory.
But what of Melbourne? Actually, Melbourne’s Little Italy is even more famed than that of Sydney, primarily because it’s much, much bigger (length-wise), and the quality of the Italian is top notch. Yes readers, we are talking about Lygon St. Like Norton St in Sydney, Lygon St is not in the CBD, so you’ll have to travel a bit.
Totally worth it. Read on for the carby details.
Date Last Visited: 7/7/13
Address: 303 Lygon St Carlton, VIC 3053
Recommended Dish(es): tortellini tartufo
A few posts ago, I covered five Melbourne locations with a focus on sweet goods. One of those places is Koko Black, and that is situated on Lygon St. I mentioned that we had lunch before then. That lunch was at a restaurant called Tiamo, conveniently only oh…a 5 second walk from Koko. Too easy.
To spoil the end of this post, Tiamo is absolutely fantastic. We were hungry so that contributed to how good our impression of the place was, but we’re pretty convinced that it’s a great Italian restaurant overall. It’s not even a particular standout on Lygon St, which attests to the quality of the ristorantes on the street in general.
Tiamo has two levels to its facade, one is the bistro, the other being the cucina (kitchen). There are separate menus for each, so if you order from both your food may not arrive at the same time. We didn’t really have that issue, but it’s one to take note of.
First up, you gotta have some pizza. The way of the world when dining at an Italian restaurant with a group, so it goes. Salsicce pizza graces our table today, with succulent pork sausage with some zingy caramelised onions. That part was the highlight, followed by the crunch of the crust on the outside, and then the chewiness of the inner base.
A delicious start was had.
I’m not sure why, but I wasn’t feeling particularly adventurous that day, so I opted for the spaghetti bologna. But as you can expect, the simple stuff sometimes tastes the best.
Naturally, the same can be said of this spaghetti dish. The noodles were the perfect hardness, a little on the al dente side without being too plasticky. Bologna sauce ensures adequate flavour is distributed throughout the dish, with chewy mince to add more texture. It was a cold winter’s day too, so this felt extra at home. Hearty!
This was not my order, though I’m glad it found its way to our table. I didn’t expect it, but I’m in love with the tortellini tartufo, despite the strong presence of funghi. That aside, this dish is simply amazing. There is something so buttery smooth about ricotta-stuffed tortellini, with the skin itself solid but melts in your mouth with the right amount of force. The creaminess of the sauce is so utterly decadent I want to drink it straight. Luckily I couldn’t.
Go to dish. Easily. Someone else can have the mushrooms though.
This dish was a special on Tiamo’s blackboard, so you may not necessarily find it on a visit of your own. That said, if you do manage to spot the baked lamb w/Napoli white wine sauce, I strongly recommend you get it. It’s exactly what you’d expect – a hearty lamb dish with deliciously soft lamb, drenched with a rich but not overpowering sauce served with homely mash that’s really more like a baked potato.
It’s real good and a perfect winter meal.
Tiamo has the goods on classic Italian fare done to delicious results. Lygon St is permanently on the radar now whenever I revisit Melbourne. Revisit, I shall.
As usual, feel free to leave a comment or three 😀
- Pure and simple delicious food
Not so Awesome:
- Service took a wee bit long, we had to hurry the waitstaff