You know... Rosa! Rosa Mitchell. She's been on the Melbourne food scene for a while. Remember that Journal Canteen joint next to the library on Flinders Lane? Lotsa eggplant, meat, tomato... yummy, hearty Italian stuff, with Sicilian leanings? Yeah, that was her. She also wrote some cookbook, My Cousin Rosa, and did something-or-other foodie in Williamstown?? To the chagrin of her devotees, she kinda disappeared for a while. Turns out she's popped up again on Punch Lane, taking over the old Luccatini's bistro site with her trattoria, Rosa's Kitchen (22 Punch Lane, Melbourne). Saweet!
Head chef Lucy David hails from such esteemed kitchens as Coda and Pei Modern, and there seems to be a MoVida link in there, too. Tucked down clean and cobblestoned Punch Lane (off Lt Bourke Street, next to Longrain), the site has been revised from its '80s pastels to industrial chic - think polished cement floor, chalkboard menus, low lighting and clean lines. A bustling kitchen heaves at the back, while smiling, apron-clad floor staff scurry between tables.
|Hustle and bustle|
|Wooden crates and alcohol boxes supply a degree of rustic charm to any venue|
My lovely housemate and I arrived on a Thursday night, somewhat tipsy (ahem), to celebrate six months of domestic bliss (awww). This is not to say that our extremely high standards and discerning tastes were tempered by alcohol. Oh noooo, siree. But to ensure we were at least drinking in line with the Italian flavours, we asked for a wine recommendation. Unfortunately, the resident wine expert was absent that night, leaving our demure yet friendly waitress to apologetically recommend a bottle of red which ended up being delicious.
|Wine mmmm wine|
We shared an antipasto plate - all items were delicious, although there was one cakey, quichey thing that was a bit odd - and followed it with a beef shin ragu pasta and a special, lamb spezzatino, of which I unfortunately only managed to get a rubbish photo (below for your viewing pleasure, yep enjoy that one).
|Beef shin ragu penne|
|Lamb spezzatino with peas and potato|
The staff were obliging, the crowd business-y but young-ish and friendly, and the food was just what I'd hoped: honest, tasty, filling (although, just to be at odds, a guy I know went recently and did not find the food filling at all) and - most importantly - deliciously fresh. Google has revealed that many of Rosa's vegetables are seasonally sourced from her own Central Highlands farm. Ups!
I very much enjoyed the relaxed yet self-assured vibe of Rosa's, and I will definitely be going back. It's a welcome Italian addition to the heart of the city.
|Leaving Punch Lane|