Brad's normally not one to be too fussed about where we go, although this one rare night, he did think he was more in the mood for Italian. I had then originally wanted to try out Mister Bianco in Kew, but being fully booked on a Saturday night, we found ourselves on Johnston Street at Porcino, based on mum's recommendation, instead.
It's kind of funny that whilst Smith Street and Brunswick Street are all hip and happening...Johnston street itself is a little on the sleepy side when it comes to restaurants and places to go nomming. I suppose it's more of the transit way to go to places to eat, rather than to eat on!
Porcino is found just a few strides away from the Johnston and Smith Street junction, and although it was a Saturday night, we were the only people there. It really must be so difficult to survive in Melbourne, with so many places to eat and new places opening up faster than you can keep up with!
As we were the only customers for most of the night, the staff were very friendly, maybe a touch overbearingly so as Brad and I observed later. I like a little bit of personal space when you're taking my order! But I suppose that just means they are keen to please, and maybe we're just getting too used to the supreme laid back nature of the newer, 'hipper' joints in town...it was nice to have a relaxing meal in a completely lacking in any sense of pretentiousness.
We started with a serve of the home made arancini with parmesan and mozzarella. I personally found it a little bland and lacking in flavour. A touch more seasoning may not have hurt! I found I couldn't really taste much of the cheese...and there's supposed to be two there!
Whilst tempted by risottos, and disappointed to hear that one of their specials (which I think was a crab risotto) was not available, I went with a simple serve of baby calamari rings tossed in semolina. Just a charm, nice texture, every so lightly fried and hardly oily.
Urbanspoon claimed that Porcino had some of the best gnocchi in town, so I may have coerced Brad slightly into ordering it. Yes, I do run a dictatorship. It's a good life.
I can't remember if he ordered a special, or the gnocchi boscalola with sauteed mushrooms, pumpkin, leek, garlic cream and spinach. Think it was the latter.
Regardless, it was rich, it was decadent, the creamy, creamy, creamy sauce sung to every taste bud in my mouth. I couldn't stop picking at it! I'm not very experienced at what a good gnocchi is, but at Porcino, they were like pillows, quite fluffy and light. I'm tempted to say doughy, but that's not an accurate description either.
So I can't comment really if they're the best in Melbourne, but they were quite tasty!
7 Johnston St
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