The World Loves Melbourne Blog
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Lupino - The Little Wolf Howls Italian Class
Lupino means 'little wolf' in Italian and this little wolf howls with Italian class and style. You can't miss the quirky red neon wolf sign on the outside of the building. Lupino is about simple things done well... They do an excellent job with classic Italian dishes with creativity and finesse! Lupino is able to bring in that rustic and "homely" feel we look for in Italian dining.
Lupino is also a modern take on Italian cafe - something you might find in Rome. White rendered walls, brick with lime green cushion panels... Stools at marble top bar, quality furniture and a polished concrete floor give a chic ambience...
This blog has been delayed after my visit a few months ago. I geared up my USA great friend and his family having recommended Lupino a few weeks ago but the restaurant was closed for rennovations.
Lupino is somewhere you'd be happy to bring someone for your first date. It has the air of a sense of occasion. It is however curious to see stools in front of the open kitchen rather than in front of the bar. Stools are down the short side of the bar along the window...
Staff dressed in white are friendly and service good but not outstanding (at least not on the night we were there). A warm greeting was given on arrival is a positive. We had three different waiters during the night...
When asked about signature dishes there was a hesitation... Followed by 'we have a couple of good pastas'... Could that could be the problem - a lack of clearly defined signature dishes?
Funky lighting and tasteful spotlights create excellent mood. Tasteful tables although surprised by how small they were! We had to place our wines glasses on an unstable window ledge to make room for our dishes. Certainly no room for personal effects.
A huge jar of Nutella on the kitchen was a source of amusement - until I saw it was imported Italian Nutella that formed part of a dessert...
The open kitchen is great enhancing the homely feel.
The food is impressive. The Gnocci Gorgonzola was a hit. However four cheeses gnocchi declared by one waiter turned out to be 2 cheeses gnocci declared by another waiter - it was delicious without being spectacular. In fact it was one cheese Gnocci with Parmesan sprinkled on top!
The light gnocchi well cooked with a rich but not overpowering cheese sauce - with a great punch of Gorgonzola veined Italian blue cheese.
The Baked Polpetti in Sugo was great. Sauce excellent... Golf ball
Meatballs! Probably my favourite on the nite! Delightful pork and veal creation with the sweet sugo! A value starter that was homey...
Curiously we were handed 'tasting plates' that were the size of tiny bread plates. I thought these plates were just too small.
The Taglierini with Prawns and Mussels and Fresh Tomato sauce was well done with al dente pasta, large fresh prawns and tasty mussels. But there wasn't enough sauce to my liking. The idea was to scoop from the bowl of chopped chilli and oil and drizzle over the pasta. Once again good but not the high notes.
The Tagliata Porterhouse steak Medium Rare was served on the rare side and was tasty. The side of spinach and the side of fries were excellent complements. Simple things done well...
As for dessert - the Paper wrap cassata was nondescript and didn't hit the high notes. The Tiramisu was good but lacked some of the crunch I'm used to and enjoy. The layers of sponge fingers were extremely thin.
Lupino does well with its selection of wines and we enjoyed some interesting Australian and Italian wines.
Lupino is an outstanding Italian restaurant that brings a modern take on classic dishes.
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