Roxborough restaurant in St. Kilda served up a social evening with their Mediterranean style dishes. Owner Marco Pugnaloni greeted us with a smile and immediately exclaimed ‘I’m Italian!’ The excitement for seasonal, shared food was evident in both the menu and the presentation.
Sunlight streamed into the bright open venue on the warm summer evening. Halfway through the evening this turned into a glare, but our reward came with a picturesque red sunset behind Luna Park.
Entrees and share dishes featured strongly on the menu. Our dining experience started with Tasmanian oysters and polenta chips stacked like Jenga. These edible rectangles were dusted with parmesan and imparted a truffle aroma as soon as they hit the table.
Meat is prominent the Mediterranean menu, with dishes including chicken and rabbit terrine and pippies and clams with smoked pork hock. The European influence was also evident with the Vitello Tonnato. Marco happily announced it was a ‘very Italian dish’. The serving was milk-poached veal cooked sous vide for four hours and a tuna tartare with bits of pickle adding bursts of salt and texture.
However, it was the vegetarian gnocchi that won over the entire table. Made from Yarra Valley potatoes and topped with stinging nettle pesto, pine nuts, and goat curd, the beautiful fluffy fried pillows of potato were crispy on the outside on soft on the inside.
Following this favourite menu item was the La Porchetta – rolled crisp skinned pork belly served on a bed of lentils and chicory. The crisp crackling surrounding the pork generated plenty of enthusiasm with my dining companions and I was charmed by the flavoursome lentils.
(If Roxborough could maintain the flavour in a meatless version they would have at least two standout vegetarian mains.)
The night concluded with a sweet treat in the form of yoghurt panna cotta topped with roasted peaches and crunchy honeycomb. Overall, the meal offered simplicity with style with its seasonal dishes incorporating local products into the Mediterranean menu.
My number one piece of advice when visiting Roxborough: order the gnocchi.
Jenny S. loves food and adventures. When she’s not attending live shows, you can find her sampling the latest craft beer or sipping a creative cocktail.
88 Acland Street
St Kilda 3182