San Paolo Solarino – Sicilian in the City

panda 4 rating

I stumbled across San Paolo Solarino one day whilst out shopping in the lane ways of Melbourne in my lunch break. P and I were looking for a place to have lunch with another friend and I suggested Solarino.

Solarino is a contemporary Italian restaurant / bar that is located in Howey Place – a laneway off Little Collins Street – and nestled between stores such as Oroton, FCUK and the recently opened Phillipa’s. Solarino is brought to us by chefs Grant Phelan (Il Solito Posto, Ca De Vin) and Jade Amenta. It offers authentic and stays true to the Nonna style of cooking in presenting a modern twist on your traditional Sicilian food – and is open seven days a week for Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner.

From the moment you walk inside – Solarino has a real sophisticated and elegant feel to it coupled with a air of casualness and comes complete with wooden tables and a swanky front bar. A highlight is the white washed walls with the name Solarino written in lights. The front counter hosts a silver coffee machine which pumps out delicious tasting coffee as well as cakes and a variety of desserts.

Their breakfast menu consists of the usual suspects such as Eggs any way you like it including Benedict, Florentine, Poached, Scrambled and Omelette. There is also Toast, French toast, Muesli and Crumpets available. Their lunch menu consists of Antipasti followed by Primi, Insalata and finishes with Speciali. There are around 7 different pasta dishes to choose from under the Primi heading – including Spaghetti, Fettuccine and Linguine. Insalata dishes include Calamari fritti and a variety of salads to choose from. Specials include Soft Shell Chilli Crab Salad, Sizzling Prawns, Veal as well as a Claypot Lamb.

I ordered the Penne with Garlic, Mushroom, Chilli, Onion and Fetta. The pasta was fresh and cooked to perfection. The flavour combination of the earthy tones from the mushroom paired with the garlic, and the caramelisation of the onion was simply divine. This was one fantastic mouth watering dish!

P ordered the Gnocchi Napoli Oven Baked and Topped with Grilled Mozzarella which came served out in a mini hot plate pan. P let me try some of her gnocchi and it was literally a melt in your mouth experience – heaven! The flavour combination of the Napoli and mozzarella worked together well. If you are a fan of gnocchi you have to try this dish out!

T ordered the Rigatoni with Aurora Style Pork Bolognese and Ricotta and said that he quite enjoyed the dish and the flavours. The dish looked fresh, vibrant and delicious.

Solarino is a fantastic venue that makes you feel comfortable and welcomed. It serves traditional Italian food with a modern twist – the dishes are a tad pricier that you would normally expect – but once you experience the flavours and freshness the price is simply an afterthought.

Rating : 4 Pandas
Price: $$$
Menu:
Refer to the following for Breakfast: http://www.solarino.com.au/public/menus/solarino_breakfast.pdf
Refer to the following for Lunch: http://www.solarino.com.au/public/menus/solarino_lunch-dinner.pdf
Refer to the following for the wine list: http://www.solarino.com.au/public/menus/solarino_wine.pdf
Fullness: 100%
Atmosphere / Ambiance: Stylish, Elegant, Classy and Comfortable
Standout Dish: Any of the Pasta dishes!
Service: Friendly and Warm
Online Booking: Yes via website – http://www.solarino.com.au/
Restaurant Details and Location:
http://www.solarino.com.au/
Howey Place
279 Little Collins St, Melbourne
Tel No: 9663 2636

Opening Hours:
Monday to Sunday: 6:30am – 10:30pm

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Pearl Oyster – Hidden Gem for Breakkie

panda 4 rating

Lean Green Poached Eggs with Hummus, Dukkah, Wilted Baby Spinach and Pomegranate Molasses over Creamy Labneh
Lean Green Poached Eggs with Hummus, Dukkah, Wilted Baby Spinach and Pomegranate Molasses over Creamy Labneh
Sambal Spinach Omelette with Crispy Fried Shallots and Chilli on Toasted Sourdough
Sambal Spinach Omelette with Crispy Fried Shallots and Chilli on Toasted Sourdough

Pearl Oyster is a bit of a hidden gem located in Thornbury and run by Philip Smiley with his wife Angella. It has a vintage/retro feel about it and comes complete with old school style cushion chairs. The staff are friendly and welcoming and some even dress in the 50s or 60s glam! Fantastic! There is a courtyard area out the back where you can enjoy the sunshine and dance away to the up-beat and very danceable tunes.

When it comes to food, Pearl Oyster only sources fresh produce products and I think has a menu that is fantastic as it caters for one and all. There are options for the vegetarians, vegan and gluten-free people. The food is simple but everything is made from scratch and tastes delicious. You can tell that a lot of love went into making the food. There are also salad rolls and baguettes for lunch. Coffee is sourced from Supreme’s Origin Blend and is yet another reason to love this place!

This place is here to stay and is a neighbourhood favourite! Definitely check it out – you are sure to love it =)

Rating : 4 Pandas
Price: $
Menu –Weekly specials using the freshest produce
Fullness: 100%
Atmosphere / Ambience: Retro feel and Relaxed
Service: Friendly (NOTE: this place is kid friendly as well!)
Online Booking: No
Restaurant Details and Location:
http://www.pearloysterespresso.com/
114 Miller St
Preston
Tel No: 9480 2500

Opening Hours:
Monday to Saturday: 8:30am to 4:30pm
Sunday: 9am to 4pm

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