We made our way to St Kilda around 7ish and were able to get a table with a last minute booking. When we first arrived the restaurant was pretty empty, which made me second guess my decision to eat here. By the time we ordered drinks, the restaurant quickly started to fill.
With an extended history of awards and hats, Sapore has been winning over guest’s hearts, specializing in homemade pasta’s, risotto’s and perfectly cooked meat dishes.
I will say the tables are extremely close together, which makes any intimate conversation almost impossible. I would certainly recommend going for one of the tables along the wall with the bench seating as it gives you slightly more room. We had to squeeze our way through the restaurant get to our table, which would start to get annoying if you were the one sitting in those seats. The tightly packed dining room has a beautiful mustard wall colour, which they project their menu on (a constant reminder of their delicious dishes). Their dim lighting created the prefect ambiance for a cozy yet romantic vibe.
To start, we were given some complimentary olives, from Gippsland, which was a pleasant touch to get the evening starting. Once orders were taken, we were given some rolls with some beautiful olive oil which was fruity and tasty. I would have preferred the bread to be warmed up when brought to the table, however was still decent either way.
Since we were just looking for a quick meal, we started with the Arancini balls filled with mushroom. There was a small dolup of aioli to hold the arancini in place, which was tasty, however nothing special.
The highlight of the night was the gnocchi pillows with braised rabbit. The dish instantly caught my eye and had to go for it. I was glad to see an entree and main size, as the dishes are usually too big for me to finish (and gnocchi being so filling), I opted for the entree size. Head Chef Simon Moss absolutely perfected this dish. The gnocchi was soft and fluffy, which soaked up the sauce perfectly. The braised rabbit was unbelievably tender and cooked to perfection. I was surprised with how light this dish was. The combination of the tender rabbit and the soft pillows worked effortlessly together to make this dish the winner of the night.
Next up was the lasagna which was on special. It was a bit different than the traditional lasagna as it had a bechamel sauce, however still quite tasty. I probably would have stuck with the tomato sauce, but was an interesting alternative to try once.
The service was friendly and just the right amount of attentiveness without being annoying. As soon as you enter the restaurant, you’re standing directly in the middle of the dining room, so service needs to be spot on or you’ll have guests standing above you watching you eat (a bit awkward).
When we had finished our meal, it took quite a while to get our bill, even after having asked for it. The dinner and service (prior to the bill) was quite memorable and of the highest quality.
Sapore is a lovely, romantic restaurant, with a beautiful atmosphere. It sticks to a modern Italian theme, with simple modern twists.