I had visions of us struggling to get a reservation as can be the case with Scoopon and the like but it was really easy. In fact I had to change the date twice and each time they were really accommodating and friendly.
Finally on Friday, Steve and I decided to meet there straight from work. I was three minutes early but was made very welcome and comfortable at a corner table.
Decor is quite 1920s art deco ish with bevelled mirrors and velvet seating. It's a pleasant environment to sit in and doesn't feel too busy or too quiet. It's great for a quiet date.
Antipasto della Casa - a selection of cured meats, olives, arancini, smoked scamorza, bruschetta, roasted capsicum, eggplant & assorted chef's specialties. This came out on a wooden board and we really enjoyed all elements. My fave was the scamorza bruschetta; love this smoked mozzarella. The mushroom bruschetta was also tasty and had a balsamicy type sweet glaze flavour to it. Arancini were nice and light and moist just as they should be. Overall it was a good start and we enjoyed it.
The rib eye came out next and looked delicious. I could tell the table next to us were jealous! The dish did not disappoint and the meat was tasty and well cooked. I love the meat in Australia as it has stronger flavour to it. The steak sometimes surprises me in texture as it tends to feel rougher in texture but I don't mind this as the flavour is so great and the same applies here. This philosophy explains why I don't tend to choose fillet. I'm prepared to compromise texture for flavour. However back home even cuts like rump and sirloin taste less rough than Aussie meat. The meat here tasted great but it didn't have the buttery smoothness that good steak I've had back home has.
After eating half a cow and I gnawed on the bone too in a most unlady like fashion we still had room for dessert. Steve went for some cheese and I chose the chocolate panna cotta with salted caramel ice cream and peanut brittle. It was like a deconstructed Snickers bar. So yummy and also so light. It's rare I can finish a whole dessert but this took no effort. The chocolate panna cotta was light and silky and the peanut brittle and I think there were biscuit crumbs or cocoa nibs added texture. Beautiful! Loved this dessert.
Service was friendly and efficient. Occasionally it seemed that it took a little while for dishes to be cleared etc but nothing noticeably off about it.
In summary, we'd come back without a voucher and try other dishes. I think the pasta dishes would be good as there seems to be a traditional Italian air to this place and not the rustic, bustling, cheap trattoria feel. I'd like to see how refined their pasta dishes are. I think Agenda Melbourne or Society has it right in doing these vouchers as it's more about widening their clientele making a smaller profit from the first visit but engaging them enough to return. The Scoopon deals we've done previously relating to food have been a bit disappointing and we're just fed cheap food which means we avoid that restaurant thereafter. I'm not convinced places that follow that business plan make much from the Scoopon deals or that it's a sustainable business decision but I'm not a restaurateur so what would I know?!
See you again Society!