69-73 Pelham Street, Carlton VIC 3053 Australia
I have been wondering since the start of this project whether or not I was ever going to review this restaurant – after all, out of all the Italian restaurants crowded in Lygon Street I could ever choose to be my favourite, I could only pick on this one – and it’s not even on Lygon Street!
The setting is warm and relaxing as soon as you enter, which is a comfort out of the cold winds of late autumn. Inside, it’s a hive of activity, waiters rushing past, the familiar ding of the bell as pizzas and pasta are swept to their tables. The decor is bistro-style with references on its walls to places in Italy, lighting cosy but not too comfortable. The selection is moderate, and there is always a goodly list of special dishes on the chalk board.
For starters, I ordered a gnocchi pan-fried with Italian sausage and rocket, accompanied with a warm chicken salad and the time-honoured favourite marinara pizza, straight out of the wood-fired oven. The salad came first, chicken a little dry but the salad comparable to that of Station Hotel’s. It was short, sharp and full of tang, complementing the dry grilled chicken and making up for its starchiness.
The gnocchi and pizza arrived shortly thereafter, and I was amazed at the effort that went into the homemade gnocchi. Combined with smoky rocket and spicy sausage the gnocchi was really well done, the texture splendid to the tongue and that taste of a dish worth ordering another of. The pizza was a delight of creamy texture, goodly-sized seafood chunks, and a lovely thin crust. I have no doubt that Michelino’s marinara pizza is one of the better trattoria pizzas I have tasted, if not one of the best.
After all that, I could not help to long for another plate of that wondrous gnocchi, but time had run short for the night and I was already beginning to yawn with fatigue. Ah well, perhaps at another time will I get to taste another special wonder at Michelinos.
- First Impressions: 8/10
- Starters: 6/10
- Mains: 10/10
- Last Impressions: 9/10
OVERALL SCORE: 33/40