One of the best Italian experiences in Australia?
Cecconis Cantina is a sublime hatted (The Age Good Food Guide) Italian restaurant/cantina that I want to keep coming back to! You'll find loads of Italian charm and classic appeal in this trendy Flinders Lane establishment. Surely one of the best Italian restaurants in Melbourne (if notAustralia)! And Melbourne does Italian well...
Love walking along trendy Flinders Lane then down the stairs to the vibrant Cessoni’s basement below. There I met up with two legendary friends from Adelaide (I was blessed with lunch - you know who you are) and we had such an epic time! The atmosphere is great for a catch up. Love the wine and olive oil bottles along the wall! Love the parquetry floor! (Have one at home and cost me a fortune to restore).
The place really buzzes at lunchtimes and you need to book. We were greeted warmly by the cheeky waiters, who are a big part of the whole experience! I love the banter and humour of these guys! They will playfully recommend menu options, and explain the daily specials with flair and fun!
I love how the website captures the philosophy of Cecconi’s, “Combining contemporary and glamorous elegance with an intimate and chic, club-like ambience, Cecconi’s Cantina offers a classic Italian menu with modern influences, and outstanding service.” The inspiration of the Bortolotto family who have excited Melbourne with their restaurants for over 30 years.
There is a compelling balance between elegance and theatre - with the chefs performing their maestro kitchen moves in an open kitchen! I love the private terrace to enjoy a special lunch on a sunny Melbourne day… I love the ambience of the cantina with its classic furniture, long bar and mood lighting! I love the concept of the cantina on one side and the formal dining room adjacent. It caters for options, moods, tastes and above all, is fun!
The menu options are exciting for breakfast, lunch or dinner. As for lunch, myself and Marty ordered the Braised Beef Cheek on creamy mash potato, parsley and horseradish gremolta. Wow! This dish was stellar! The beef cheek was cooked to absolute perfection and came apart easily. So tender! And perfectly marinated. The creamy mash was so creamy and such a great accompaniment. We both raved about how good it was! With a glass of wine, it went down a treat! The other options looked great such as the chicken, duck, fish, risotto and pasta of the day. But so glad I went the beef cheek!
My friend Tony ordered the Minute Sirloin Steak with watercress and red onion salad. This too was brilliant and the steak looked a little bigger than usual for a minute steak. (Possibly a 2 or 3 minute steak?) Tony was happy with his steak although he was drooling over our beef cheek.
For dessert I ordered the Tiramisu – kahlua, strega, coffee with mascarpone cheese. Another wow dish! Cecconi’s have a reputation for incredible desserts and this was no exception. Each layer of the tiramisu was magnificent! Perfect biscuit layer! Perfect soaking of sponge layer in coffee and the kahlua! Rich airy mascarpone cheese texture. Perfect Italian trifle.
My friends went for the Sorbetti – 2 scoops. They raved about the coconut and orange sorbetti. So refreshing after the carne.
Sensational Cecconi’s Cantina! You delivered on every count with such elegance and fun! Thanks again to my legendary friends for the lunch.
61 Flinders Lane – Spanish - Food 9 Coffee 8.5 Ambience 9