It's the lighter and fresher options that get the taste buds buzzing during the warmer months, and Fratelli Fresh's new spring menu has got these options covered down pat. But if you enjoy your meal in true Italiano fashion, you may very well still find yourself rolling out of the restaurant...
Such was our experience during a recent spring menu tasting dinner with Fratelli Fresh, where self control failed in the face of the many tasty options we had been served.
The carbilicious side of Italiano cuisine first reared its head during entrees with a herbed 'plain' focaccia topped with a sprinkle of cheese. Strategic eating would dictate stopping at one piece but this was simply not achievable given the irresistibly delicious combo of the doughy, crispy focaccia and its accompaniments. The assortment of cured meats and what appeared to be a salami paste from the salumeria selection offered much insight into the flavour landscape of the meats, and tasting the meats one after the other really highlighted the at-times subtle differences between the selections. With the fontina, gorgonzola, parmesan, ricotta and tallegio cheeses making their presence known (whew, cheesy!), the delicately crispy zucchini flowers are a must order for the cheese lovers out there. The beautifully presented caprese tomato salad brought some fresh balance to help break up the heaviness from the other dishes.
Moving onto the mains, we next squeezed in two pasta dishes and a baked cod dish. Thankfully the portions we were given were smaller than the usual serving sizes but it was still quite a struggle... Pssst, bring those stretchy pants! Wowing on both paper and in true form, the chilli and lobster paccheri was a real crowd pleaser, showcasing cooked to al dente perfection tubes of pasta teamed with sweet tomatoes and fresh bites of lobster. Additions of the chilli oil and dried chilli flakes are a must to ensure maximum impact in heat and taste. The silky tender piece of Black Cod also left quite an impression; its flavour palette simple but superbly balanced.
And finally we reached dessert, where our stomach capacities were truly tested. I'm a big fan of tiramisu and enjoyed the lush creamy and spongy texture of Fratelli Fresh's version. Bonus points for not being overly sweet. If you do opt for the tiramisu, be cautious about accidentally inhaling the easily-displaced cocoa powder. The cinnamon presence in the sugary coating of the freshly cooked doughnuts was extremely fragrant. The texture of the doughnuts was spot on; crispy on the outside, airy light on the inside. The thick chocolate dipping sauce added extra oomph but I preferred going without given my lack of a sweet tooth.
The spread at Fratelli Fresh may seem simple but they deliver excellent Italiano fare with their clever use of balanced flavours and quality ingredients. All that's left to decide is whether you're after a tasty light meal or carb-heavy feast... either way, Fratelli Fresh have got you sorted!
- Tomato salad - vine ripened tomatoes with Mozzarella di Bufala and basil.
- Plain focaccia - with olive oil, Italian herbs and salt.
- Salumeria selection - Salumi Australia Artisanal cured meats.
- Zucchini flower - stuffed with 5 Italian cheeses.
- Chilli & lobster Paccheri - large tube pasta with tomato.
- Spinach & ricotta ravioli - with tomato passata and basil.
- Black Cod al cartoccio - cooked in paper, with artichoke, lemon, olives and white wine.
- Bitter green insalata - shaved vegetables with red wine & anchovy vinaigrette.
- Broccolini - with garlic and anchovy crumbs.
- Roast potatoes - with rosemary.
- Zeppole (Italian doughnuts).
7 Alfred Place,
Melbourne, Victoria, 3000.
1300 253 733
Disclosure: I attended the spring menu preview dinner as a guest of Fratelli Fresh. All opinions expressed in this post are based entirely on my experience and observations made during the time of my visit.