Monday, June 18, 2012

Il Bacaro Cucina e Bar (Melbourne, Australia) - ♕♕♕♕♕ 1/2

Il Bacaro in Melbourne is seriously one of the most under-rated Italian restaurants in town, if not the world, but very little credit is given to here.  One could probably say the same about Enoteca Sileno,  which is also often operating under the radar,  but over there it is good but not exactly trendsetting stuff.   The food recipes here at Il Bacaro in the mean time are even more upscale and selling itself to be half-way between being traditional Italian fare but also bucking the trend  by exploring with new methods of cooking Italian dishes and creating something extraordinary out of the well established stuff!   Take for example the 1st dish below of the Barramundi Carpaccio.   A raw fish Crudo or Carpaccio dish is already a typical starter in most coastal cities in Italy.  But here,  it is paired with Crab infused Mayonnaise,  Raw Octopus and sous vide compressed Apple along with some Micro-herbs to give it a refreshing taste as a starter.  And the Crab and Marrow risotto was even more exciting and cooked perfectly and so memorable!  In fact, not a single dish we had here could be faulted at all.    Why this restaurant doesn’t get rated much in the local Good Food Guide,  is truly baffling to us.  The same can be said about the recently demoted Giuseppe Arnaldo & Sons,  which despite the occasional flaws in execution or weaknesses in certain recipes,  is definitely on par with the best of Italian cuisines in the world.  But over here,  it is truly deserving of being upgraded and worth another look..


An Unassuming Shop Front.
But no belying that this is probably one of the most sensible Italian restaurants in the world, perfectly juggled between sensibility, tradition as well as creating a movement to re-define modern Italian food.

A Local Olive Oil -
The bottle was pretty and this EVOO Olive Oil was more of the lighter fragrant type.
It was good rather than great,  but at least the restaurant went to lengths to source this and let the customers marvel at this perfume like bottle!

Sesame Bread -
As mentioned before about 2 million times.  Bread overseas is different from bread in Hong Kong.  HK people expect a myriad of bread offerings and they have to be soft in the centre,  never mind if they might not carry much bread or butter aroma.  It just needs to look rather than taste right!
Here,  it was decent but not exceptional to be fair.

A Sparkling Wine to start off with -
Didn’t really like that fluted glass for some reason. 
May be a little too triangular shaped for comfort?  Winking smile

Carpaccio di Barramundi con Polpo,  Granchio e Mela -  AUD $24
Thinly sliced raw barramundi with octopus,  is served with crab mayonnaise and compressed apple. This was a spectacular dish and really sweet and balanced.  The beautiful presentation with the slicing and on black slate is reinventing the Italian Carpaccio dish.  ~  10/10

Caciofi fritti con crema al Caprino, Funghi, Nocciola e Rosso d’Uovo – $22
Jerusalem artichoke with goats cheese custard, pickled mushrooms, hazelnut and egg yolk was another sublime dish,  with the cheese custard fluffily light and topped with a small yolk.  ~  8/10


Tortellini de Cervo e Cioccolato con puree di Moscato, Ricotta e Cervo affumicato -  AUD $37
Venison is stuffed into a chocolate paste tortellini, with Verjus, Moscatel puree,  Ricotta foam and pieces of Smoked Venison.  The smoked venison was the highlight of the dish,  and the chocolate based pasta skin was also a very smart idea,  since game meat works well with chocolate!!  The Moscato puree was refreshing with the ricotta foam.  The only downside to this dish was that the tortellini skin was a little too thick and hard.  ~  7/10



Risotto di Granchio e Zafferano con Osseo, Pomodoro e Ravanello – AUD $28
This risotto of saffron, crab meat and bone marrow with dried cherry tomato and radish crisps was truly sensational!  The saffron and seafood broth taste was really strong and the crab meat sweetness was also present.   Bone marrow is both infused into the risotto and also grilled and served whole with the slightly greener and sour elements.  The risotto was cooked to the perfect state.  Encore!   ~  10/10

The Food here has always been Great -
But it seems to have become even better!  It is not easy to break out from the established Italian mode of operating a restaurant and modernised Italian recipes are often met by the customers with resistance.  Most people think that Italian fare should be kept to being simple and the more down to earth is better,  but the same applies to French cuisine.  Some pioneers in the mean time will try to lead the way and show the future direction of a particular cuisine without over-doing and fixing what isn’t broken,  it is the next logical step.  I found this pioneer at il Bacaro and their endeavoring,  it is truly one of it’s kind.  It is also very surprising that Sarti just around the corner has a 1 hatted status,  and Café di Stasio at St Kilda has been consistently awarded 2 Hats,  when the food there is easily below this unhatted restaurant.   Just because here,  they don’t have a celebrity chef?




Price: AUD $60 – $80
Ease of Access – 3/5  (In the CBD and close to a Tram Station.  Easy enough for locals, but come with a GPS in hand!)
Food:  ♕♕♕♕♕ 1/2 - ♕♕♕♕♕♕

Opening Hours -
Mon – Sat:  12:00pm – 3pm,   6pm - 11pm
Sunday:   Closed

Address: 170 Little Collins Street, Melbourne, Australia.
Ph: 03 9654 6778

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