Seven different housemade pastas and two risottos make up the standard menu at Tipo 00. If carbs are your weakness, this bustling little pasta bar could well be your kryptonite. We're talking tortelloni with king brown mushrooms, risotto with Moreton Bay bugs, seashell pasta with nettle pesto and pappardelle with braised wagyu. Just. Take. My. Money.
Complimentary housemade ricotta with focaccia
The Italian hospitality at Tipo 00 starts as soon as you sit down. A complimentary serve of housemade ricotta and rosemary focaccia is simple but nourishing, and the perfect start to lunch.
It's 12.05pm on a Wednesday lunchtime and this intimate 30-seater is already half-full. By 12.20pm, every seat is taken, even the eight counter stools at the marble-topped bar.
Grilled ox tongue with balsamic vinegar and pink peppercorns
Tipo 00 might be a pasta bar but there's a good selection of entrees too. We kick things off with a serve of grilled ox tongue, much prettier in presentation than I'd ever imagined. It's a skewer of grilled succulence, unravelling itself to reveal paper thin shavings of ox tongue. A squiggle of balsamic vinegar glaze and a handful of crushed pink peppercorn add sweetness and bite.
Pan-fried calves liver and balsamic sauce
We'd been tossing up between the grilled calamari and the pan-fried calves liver but the waiter is firm in his advice. "Get the liver". We're glad we do.
All too often liver gets a bad rap, but that's because few know how to cook the darned things. Here it's transformed into some glorious melt-in-the-mouth lusciousness that reaffirms how offal can offer so much joy. The liver is cooked to the right side of pink, drenched in a sticky balsamic and onion sauce. It's just the thing for soaking up with the accompanying crispy polenta chips.
Gnocchi di patate $28
Braised duck, porcini mushroom and pecorino pepato
Gnocchi is another one of those dangerous dishes in the wrong hands, too often resembling rubber bullets. Here it's just as your Italian nonna intended - light and fluffy clouds of love. A generous amount of braised duck and a mountain of pecorino shavings will keep you going until dinner.
Tagliolini al nero $27
Squid ink tagliolini with squid and bottarga
But I'm all about the squid ink tagliolini, jet black strands of al dente pasta, tossed through with wafer thin slices of tender squid. The broth in the bottom of the bowl is satisfyingly briny with an umami hit. Finely grated bottarga amplifies the taste of the sea, and you know I saved those precious pearls of salmon roe, slowly bursting each orb on my tongue, one by one.
Tipo 00 had long been on my Melbourne list so I'm glad I finally managed to get there on a recent fleeting visit. Expect a terrific Italian feed in relaxed surrounds with friendly staff. Do make a booking (you'll have to call or email them) to avoid the heartache of seeing a queue out the door.
361 Little Bourke Street, Melbourne
Tel: +61 (03) 9942 3946
Monday to Saturday 11.30am-10pm
Closed public holidays
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1/25/2017 01:19:00 am