It’s been quite a while since my last update, and indeed, since I’ve been out. My mother was down in Melbourne for the night, so it was a good an excuse as any to try a new spot for dinner. At a loss for where to eat (she didn’t make it any easier when I asked her what she felt like by saying ‘anything’), we ended up at San Paolo Solarino, a pasta and wine bar just off Little Collins St.
It was relatively quiet when we got there around 630, but quickly started filling up after we had ordered our meals. The trickle of customers resulted in a very mixed crowd; there were those who’d obviously just finished work, a few cosy couples, and even some single diners perfectly content with their books, iPads, smart-phones etc.
While the antipasto platter looking appetizing, neither of us were particularly hungry so ordered two mains to share between us. Trust me to go to a pasta and wine bar and not order either, being a fan of wine, but certainly not of pasta. We were perfectly happy with the menu despite this limitation.
It was amusing listening to mother attempting to pronounce “Risotto”, but I spared her the pain and ended up ordering the Risotto with pancetta, quince, rosemary butter and quince vincotto.
Does the vincotto count as trying the wine then? Probably not, but in any case, the risotto was quite good, but more than a touch on the salty side. The rice was well cooked and the dish was creamy, strong and filling. I was glad we’d ordered a salad to offset the richness however.
The must try according to The Very Very Hungry Caterpillar was the Chicken salad with ricotta, currants, almonds and spinach and boy was it a good recommendation.
The chicken was tender and well-flavoured and I always love nuts in my salads as they add that bit of crunch and substance to a dish that is inherently light and I’ll never say no to cheese, although I would have liked fetta instead of ricotta (personal preference). The currants were a great sweet counterpoint, and somewhat required after the saltiness of the risotto.
Wine from the predominately Australian wine list would have matched well to the dinner, but for us, it was more of a hindsight rather than a requirement. I probably won’t return (well, maybe for the salad) due to pasta usually lying low on my cravings meter, but it’s still a nice cozy place for a weeknight dinner.
San Paolo Solarino – Pasta and Wine Bar
7 Howey Place, Melbourne