Restaurant reviews Rosetta Melbourne

The dish of the night, octopus salad

Some chefs have precincts where they just feel at home. David Chang bases a lot of his restaurants in New York City’s East Village, while here in Australia Andrew McConnell seems to have a thing for Melbourne’s Flinders Lane. One of Australia’s earliest celebrity chefs, Neil Perry, has made the Crown complex on the banks of the Yarra River, his Melbourne base with three venues, his signature Rockpool Bar and Grill, the bar and eatery Spice Temple, and his Italian restaurant, Rosetta.

Although Greedy Girl has not posted restaurant reviews from any of Neil Perry’s other outlets, she has eaten a lot of his food, having been to several of his Sydney establishments over the years, including the late, lamented Wokpool. Perry is also a consultant chef to Qantas, devising the menus for those lucky enough to be at the pointy end of the aircraft. The Qantas menu describes the economy meals as ‘Neil Perry-inspired’. Hmmm. Greedy Girl can’t see or taste much inspiration there, but she digresses.

We’ve also dined at the Rockpool Bar and Grill at Crown, having been lured there by the promise of a $20 wagyu beef burger at the bar. Friends told us it would be a cheap-and-cheerful night out. It was, until we started ordering $80 bottles of red. D’oh.

But with gluttonous husband off on his annual golf trip, Greedy Girl and pescetarian friend Ms Divine sallied forth, dressed to impress, for an early evening seat out on the sunlit terrace at Rosetta. Perry has had a long love affair with Italian cuisine, which formed the basis for much he shared during his cooking shows. Indeed, he was one of the first Australian chefs to make the transition to TV.

Rosetta is a very pleasant-looking spot, especially in summer and the atmosphere and style seems so much better than the interior. Having already partaken of a very delightful bottle of Veuve Clicquot, we cut straight to the chase and ordered dishes. Being a Saturday night, we were told we had a reasonably short lease on our table on the promenade. Greedy Girl didn’t mind. She was happy to eat early and then find a fun bar.

First up was polipo (the salad pictured above left). This was an excellent start. Chargrilled octopus, roasted onions, potatoes, tomatoes, radish slices and salsa verde. It was light, refreshing, tangy and all the elements cooked to perfection. An unqualified yum.

We moved to heavier dishes. Ms Divine chose tagliarini neri. Thin ribbons of pasta coloured with squid ink were topped with warm spanner crab, fresh chili and lemon. It certainly looked very attractive. Ms Divine said the dish was perfectly enjoyable if not particularly zingy.

Restaurant reviews Rosetta Melbourne

Tagliarini neri

After indulging in champagne, Greedy Girl was in the mood for some carbs. She chose the mushroom risotto. And here it is:

Restaurant reviews Rosetta Melbourne

Risotto ai funghi

The menu described it, simply, as being made with porcini mushrooms. All good from Greedy Girl’s perspective and she tucked in, after some fresh cheese had been grated at the table. The first forkful wasn’t great. The second was unenjoyable. The third was enough. Greedy Girl put down her fork. The problem was, the dish was swimming in olive oil. Greedy Girl accepts the ‘cheffy’ flourish of drizzling a bit of olive oil over the top for some additional sheen but it was the only flavour she could discern. Our waiter asked if there were any concerns. Greedy Girl gave her opinion and the dish was whisked away. She contented herself with snacking on the Italian-style roasted potatoes with rosemary.

Restaurant reviews Rosetta Melbourne

Roasted potatoes

Ms Divine was in the mood for a sweet, so we decided to share the torta al cioccolato, featured at the very top of this blog. This was a flourless chocolate cake served with vanilla Chantilly cream and grated milk chocolate over the top. It was executed quite well but very sweet.

We decided to move on and find a bar. The promenade at Crown has the signature gas jets that, when the sun goes down, erupt at the top of the hour in great fiery whooshes. Greedy Girl isn’t fond of them and preferred to be indoors before that happened. We asked for the bill.

And that provided a very unfortunate surprise. The waiter announced that the restaurant was still charging for the risotto because it was presented ‘exactly as the chef intended and the manager agreed’. So there. Forget about the patron’s enjoyment. The waiter saw the look on Greedy Girl’s face and asked whether there was ‘a problem’ with that. Greedy Girl responded that the problem was she hadn’t been told as soon as the dish was taken away, at least an hour earlier. Based on that lack of interest in customer satisfaction, we could well have made other choices about our evening.

So there you have it. There are markedly different ways of dealing with adversity in a restaurant. Indeed, on a previous evening out with Ms Divine at The Atlantic, it was she who had issues, amazingly enough also with a very oily dish. The dish was whisked away, a replacement course was identified and there was no cost for the dish that wasn’t up to scratch on the bill. Presumably the chef there agreed with Ms Divine … Well, we all live and learn.


The Foodie World star rating

Crown Entertainment Complex, Southbank

Rosetta Ristorante Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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