After much debate on where to spend our Friday night with a group of six, we all decided on Bottega as the place of choice. Being a long standing icon in the Melbourne CBD, Bottega offers authentic Italian cooking, excellent service and a beautiful intimate atmosphere right in the heart of the city.
We started the night with a variety of shared Stuzzichini dishes (small Italian appetizers to share) for the table to enjoy as well as some beautiful wines from their well put together wine list.
Once entrees were ordered, a loaf of warm bread was brought to the table with some homemade crunchy bread sticks. The loaf was beautifully crusty on the outside and soft on the inside. The only downfall was the butter that was brought to the table was straight from the fridge, which couldn’t be cut.
First out was the ‘Chicken Liver pate with gruyere bignoli’ which was creamy, drizzled a golden syrup dressing and lightly warmed by the gruyere bignoli. Beautiful combination of rich and savory flavours.
Next was the ‘Antipasto’, which had a variety of cured meats including Prosciutto Parma Pio Tosini, Mustela, Salame Salsiccia Sarda, Slinzega Affumicata and olives, squaquerone, grissini & taralli. The meats were tasty and great quality, however the size of the ‘large’ plate was still quite small.
Finally out were the freshly shucked, natural ‘Oysters’.
For mains I went with the ‘House made ricotta & spinach tortelli’ served in a beautiful cherry tomato napoli sauce and topped with burrata. I usually go with the entree size portions to leave room for dessert, but the sound of this dish pushed me to order the main size, which I’m so glad I did! The tortelli was the perfect thickness with just the right combination of ricotta and spinach. The sauce was that of a traditional nature and reminded me of Nonna’s home cooked meals. Definitely the highlight of the night for me.
The ‘28 day aged Tasmanian scotch fillet’ with hand cut russet potato chips and black garlic mayonnaise on the other hand was a bit of a different story. Although the meat was beautifully cooked, the dish lacked any type of presentation and looked quite bare. The four chips as a side were a bit disappointing, which if you were hungry, this definitely wouldn’t fill you up. I think even with a few greens or veggies on the side of the plate, it would have really helped fill the space on the empty dish and give it some colour.
Quite full after dinner, we still wanted to try some of these fabulous desserts that were jumping out of the page at us. We decided to get a couple different desserts for the table to share, just to satisfy our sugar fix. We went with the ‘Sacher Torta’ which was a white chocolate mousse with raspberry, dark chocolate sauce and passion fruit jelly. Simply beautiful and quite rich! For anyone with a serious sweet tooth, this is a must try!
The second and last dish of the night was the ‘Pineapple Semifreddo’ served with crema inglese e pistacchio, raspberry coulis. This is a perfect summer dessert as it’s quite refreshing and not as sweet as most other desserts. A great dessert to finish the night.
ATMOSPHERE + SERVICE
Walking in you are greeted by a friendly maitre de who escorts you to your seat. The restaurant is quite small, seating maybe 40 people at most. Tables are positioned along the wall and centre banquette seating area, which creates an easy walk way for guests and staff to move around without interrupting others.
Clothed tables, brown paper and bottles of wine scattered around the restaurant create an authentic, fine dining atmosphere. The service was excellent and quite attentive throughout the whole night with recommendations on the food and wine made for those who were unsure on what to order were given.
I’d definitely recommend Bottega for small groups and couples looking for an intimate and romantic night out.