19 Jul Vivace, Brighton
The third venue from owner Chris Favaloro and co-host Andrew Zoli, surburban Italian favourite Vivace earned itself two hats in the Gault & Millau 2015 guide. Executive Chef, Davide Ferraro, hails from Turin in Northern Italy, bringing his experience in authentic Italian cuisine to the kitchen.
We’ve come to enjoy a multi-course dinner, with matched wines by Hancock & Hancock. We begin with La Gioiosa prosecco and antipasti – San Daniele prosciutto and South Australian oysters with a light and rereshing topping of shallots, citrus and prosecco vinegar. The piping hot, crispy saffron, tomato, pea and mozzarella arancini are so moreish, but I have to stop myself to save space for the courses that are to come.
Pumpkin, goat’s cheese and potato croquettes are smooth on the inside, the plate also decorated with with crushed amaretti, beetroot, capers and raisins to lift the flavours. The caramelised scallops are popular. The fresh, seared nuggets are accompanied by a shallots, fennel and capers, a subtle cauliflower puree, and highlighted by a salty punch from diced chorizo.
Next to arrive are the gigantic cappellacci filled with a delicate potato and leek mixture. It’s paired with a truffle and blue cheese sauce that is a little strong on the cheese for my liking, but the quality of the pasta itself couldn’t be faulted.
Murray Valley pork belly has been slow-cooked over 12 hours, the crispy crackling bringing much delight. Rhubarb sauce and a sweet apple, onion & ginger relish complement the sweetness of the pork, and thyme-roasted squash and white balsamic sauce arrive on the side of the plate. Roasted lamb loin is adorned with a pistachio brioche crust that provides a pleasurable nutty crunch, and the smoked eggplant puree rounds out the flavours.
We finish with a duo of desserts. The panna cotta is smooth and wobbly, flavoured with white chocolate and vanilla, strawberries and strawberry gel, and pistachio praline for a bit of crunch. The Dark Belgian chocolate fondant is perfectly done, its molten chocolate innards spilling out onto the plate. The fondant’s inherent richness is countered by slices of citrus fruit, and a fig, mascarpone and honey gelato.
Polished timber flooring, fireplaces and chandeliers impart a warm and classy feel to the restaurant. It’s a fine place to enjoy modern fine Italian cuisine.
317 Bay St
Brighton, VIC, 3186
(03) 9596 9511
Disclaimer: I dined as a guest of Vivace. Opinions expressed here are purely my own and are based on my experience at the time of the visit