01 Jul Artusi, Southbank
During its 10th anniversary, owners Luis Pampliega and Tamara Volkoff decided to give the Southgate stalwart Tutto Bene a sibling named Artusi. I was invited by Fuller PR to attend Artusi’s launch party. Named after Pellegrino Artusi, they have adopted the ethos ‘The Art of Eating and Drinking Well’. Whilst Tutto Bene focused on traditional family meals, head chef Leandro Panza has designed the Artusi menu to serve up modern Italian made with organic produce. Their menu features handmade pasta, Italian tapas and feasts of duck and joints of meat roasted in their wood-fired oven.
Appetisers included (a generous amount of) prosciutto wrapped around grissini, burrata with slivers of beetroot, crumbed eggplant balls, cheesy meatballs and refreshing flathead carpaccio.
There were two pastas I tried: the first was broccoli-filled potato parcels with parmesan, which I found a bit creamy for my tastes, and smooth pumpkin tortellini topped with sharp parmesan.
Then came the wood-fired meats – succulent and toothsome tomahawk steak, crispy roasted pork belly with a delightful skin crackling (which, to me, had a taste reminiscent of char siu) and duck. Unfortunately I picked up a piece of duck that was almost entirely fat so I can’t comment on how the meat was done, but I did enjoy the flavouring.
Platters of crackers with honey-drizzled blue cheese were circulating the room. I have to admit, the last time I had blue cheese was about 12 years ago in home economics class and I’ve made a particular point of avoiding it ever since. I decided it was time to test the waters once again. This blue cheese was much better than the first; though I still can’t say I thoroughly enjoyed it, others were groaning with delight.
There was lots of dessert to go around too. The delicate bite-sized tiramisu were light and delicately flavoured with a nice balance of crunchy biscuit, caramel and creamy mascarpone. Not being much of a donut person, I found these fresh-out-of-the-fryer bombolini were pretty good. Chocolate sauce was smothered onto the hot, fluffy dough that encased hazelnut praline, making a tasty way to end the night of festivities.
Disclaimer: I was invited to attend this launch party by Fuller PR and Artusi, however, opinions expressed here are purely my own and not influenced by them in any way.
Shop UR1, Upper Level
3 Southgate Ave
Southbank, VIC, 3006
(03) 8199 1033