(03) 9347 0638
66 University St
Yay! It’s my birthday today! I’m celebrating it… by going to school and cleaning out the music department. Very birthday-like, I know.
But it’s okay because I managed to celebrate my birthday somewhat earlier this month at Cafe Italia with a few other birthday girls!
It’s easy to miss Cafe Italia while you walk down Lygon st. Blink and it’s gone! Well, that’s actually because it’s not on Lygon street. And I’ll be the first to admit that if I’m walking down Lygon street for italian food, looking in the small alleys wouldn’t be the first thing on my mind.
But thanks to the power of social media and the certain lure of free birthday desserts for January babies, I found myself having dinner there at Cafe Italia on a very rainy evening alongside Ms I Hua and Kat, fellow January babies!
I have to admit, I’m not very fond of having Italian in the Lygon street area. I think it’s the hype – hype always kills things. For all its hype, the meals I’ve had on Lygon have leaned towards mediocre and average. Though I am quite fond of Piccolo Mondo, but that’s another story.
Cafe Italia is situated in a tiny lane off Lygon, called University Street. It looks small from the outside, but the inside was rather huge with a nice casual yet classy feel about it. I’m not sure who holds the reins to the twitter account of Cafe Italia, but that was how we made our reservation – via twitter. God bless the age of social media!
Thanks to the rain and some rather slow traffic, I was late for the dinner date despite having left the house earlier than usual. Just goes to show you can’t plan for everything! So by the time I sat down at the table in a fluster, the girls had been waiting for a little while and we were all famished. So we thought we’d start with Antipasto di Carne – prosciutto, sopressa salami, pancetta and parmesan grissini served with chilli fried olives ($20.90).
And I should note here that I had a fantastic evening. Amazing company with good food does miracles to one’s happiness level, let me tell you that. But there was one small detail that marred the night: the antipasto came together with the main courses, not before. I thought these were appetizers? We were hanging out for it like you wouldn’t believe and just about we were about to ask where the appetizer was, a waiter came up with it. Along with the rest of our orders. Well then, antipasto just became a side! (And for the record, it was so-so).
I’ve never had roast lamb on pizza before, so when I saw this on the menu I practically pounced on it : Roast lamb, cherry tomatoes & yoghurt, mozzarella and herbs pizza. How awesome does that sound? It was yummy too! I really loved the generous helping of cherry tomatoes and loved how tasty the pizza was. Definitely something I’m going to try replicating myself!
But there was without doubt that the risotto was the star of the show: Risotto con funghi: wild mushrooms, porcini flour and truffle oil – how heavenly does that sound? I was in mushroom heaven. It was so incredibly fresh, every mouthful was like having mushrooms pop up all over your tongue. Absolutely delightful! If I could have more of that right now, I would. It was the best mushroom risotto I’ve ever tried, and I eat a lot of that stuff. Mushroom fanatic, that I am.
After we finished licking the risotto plate… ahem, I mean, after we finished our mains, it was time to bring on the cakes for the birthday girls!
I don’t remember the specific names of each cakes, but they were YUM! It was a pity that we were so full; we tried our best but we didn’t quite manage to finish all three slices. But we kept it with us nibbled on it while we chatted till it was past 10, and by looks of it, they were closing up and I’m pretty sure that while the wait staff were kind enough not to give us the evil eye, they would have been happy for us to leave so they could proceed with cleaning the place up – that’s how long we stuck around from 6.30pm!!
If you are in the area, do go try it out. Especially that mushroom risotto. Maybe even mail me some. I’m dying for some!
If you are a January baby, just let them know on twitter! And you will be eligible for a free cake to celebrate your birthday with!