In the heart of the CBD on Flinders lane, the old Yak Italian Kitchen has transformed into a new dining experience named Lello pasta bar. All the pasta is handmade in-house and they celebrate dishes from varied regions across Italy. Fortunately this is also the case for their wine menu, varied varietals from different parts of Italy, which in itself ensures a good night. The décor is refined and has a bit of fancy about it, and the menu was traditional and unfamiliar to me in an exciting way. Safe to say you can order some food and have them pair a fine wine and your tastebuds will takes you to Italy and back.
Our first entrée was warm braised artichoke with a 60-60 slow-cooked egg with a yolk that oozed over the dish like a sauce. It had bits of crumbled goats cheese and crunchy croutons with a light flavoured licorice brioche. This was an impressive starter that invoked excitement and intrigue.
The chargrilled octopus was soft and tender and was sitting on a chickpea sicillian panella, which was like a savoury fritter. Then there were spots of apple gel, thin slices of radish and crunchy fried chickpeas.
Paired with 2015 Palladino Gavi Piemonte Italy.
The handmade potato gnoochetti was so light it melted in your mouth like little pillows. It was tossed in a cloudy scallop sauce with asparagus, peas and vermouth.
The eggplant and hazelnut ravioli were delicate and delicious and paired well with the torched Clarence river prawns. It was topped with shavings of provolone cheese.
Paired with the 2015 Terzini Pecorino Abruzzo Italy.
We saw the chefs making the potato and mint colurgiones when we walked in. They were little Italian dumplings served with broad bean pesto and crushed almonds. Something about seeing them make it by hand and then eating it made it even more delicious and satisfying.
Arso casarecce caccio e pepe was thin-tubed pasta made with burnt grain flour. It was dark in colour but didn’t have a wholegrain flavour and was super punchy with flavours of cheese and pepper. The sauce was heavily peppered with parmesan and pecorino. It was delicious.
Paired with 2015 Menhir Salento Novementi Rosato Puglia Italy.
Lasagne verde was the next dish. I remembered from Italian class in primary school that verde means green and sure enough the lasagne arrived green. Yess!! It’s a traditional spinach pasta from the Ferrara region. Each thin layer of pasta was topped with a marvellous veal and pork mince.
Gratinated Mezze Maniche was giant open pasta tubes sitting upright. Each tube was filled with cardoons, ricotta, artichoke, capers and yellow tomato and baked in the oven. The baking made the tops nice and crispy.
Paired with 2014 Begali Valpolicella Ripasso Veneto Italy
For dessert we had a wild fennel ice cream with the thin slices of blood orange underneath. It had sweet crunchy bits of chestnut crostoli, cooked rhubard and caprino (goats cheese).
We ended the night with the Sfogliatella ricca, a shell shaped buttery and flaky layered pastry that was super crunchy on the outside and soft in the middle. They were filled with a beautiful marsala custard and drizzled with amarena cherry sauce. This is a good example of a classic dessert perfected. Loved it.
Paired with 2016 Alasia Moscato D’asti Piemonte Italy
The handmade pasta at Lello is made with lots of love and you can taste it. We had a wonderful dinner with amazing wines to match. They also have a breakfast and lunch menu.
I heart Lello pasta bar!
Lello Pasta Bar
Address: 150 Flinders Ln, Melbourne VIC 3000
Phone: (03) 9654 6699
Trading Hours: Mon-Sun: 7am-10pm