Dining Date: October 2008
2009 Rating: 66th
2009 Star rating: 1
Chefs: Robert Marchetti, Sara-Jane Quadara & Matthew Gilroy
Location: Riverside at Crown, Southbank Vic
Being of Italian heritage, going to an Italian restaurant is not highly rated in my opinion. Don't get me wrong, I LOVE Italian food, but I'd much rather try something different, so when we recently visited Giuseppe Arnaldo and Son's at Crown, I had my apprehensions.
Looking at the place from the outside didn't give much away as to what was beyond the doors. We entered through the doors within the Crown complex, there is a long bar running from the door all the way along until you reach the maitre d's post. There is more than one dining area, each dimily lit, but each with its own colourful tiling, on the walls there were customers reviews written on green, red and white cards, a not so subtle way to remind you of the colours of the Italian flag. One of the reviews seemed to just jump off the wall at me, even before we had taken a seat. It read "That was disgusting, it was YUCK!", just what you want to read before you've even SEEN a menu.
Who needs wall paper?
We were taken towards the very end of the restaurant to a small room that had 4 tables, it made for a very cosy dining experience, until the table beside us filled with very loud customers, at a couple of points the waiters didn't seem to be very attentive. The waiters were dressed in long white lab coats and I coudnt help but feel like I was still at work in the lab.
We decided to only order mains with a bottle of red. It was getting pretty late and I dont think I could stomach a full 3 course meal. There was one thing that I did notice about the menu, which definitely made it stand out from any other run of the mill Italian restaurant, each dish had a bit of a quirky twist to it - like including some organ or served in a particular way, it made choosing a dish very difficult. Once we ordered the menu doubled as a place matt.
I ordered the Risotto “Milanese” with Saffron, Pork Sausage and Bone Marrow. Bone marrow is not an ingredient you would typically see mixed into a risotto, but I have a small soft spot for the gooey stuff. The risotto was perfectly cooked, the sausage and saffron added a sweetness to the dish and the marrow made it rich and silky. I truly enjoyed it.
Daz ordered “La Tagliata” - 250 grams Char-grilled Hereford /Angus Rib Eye Sliced, Rocket, Green Peppercorns, Chilli, Spring Onions (Thanks the GA&S website!). The meat was extremely flavoursome and juicy despite that it was cut into small portions.
Our other guest ordered the Spaghetti “Arrabbiata” with Crab, Tomato, Chilli, Baked in a Paper Bag. The pasted tasted pretty good, but the novelty of it appearing at the table in a paper bag out shone the dish itself. It seriously lacked the chilli power to call it "Arrabbiata", maybe it was angry because it was trapped in a paper bag.
Overall, Giuseppe Arnaldo and Sons was good. The food was appetising and interesting enough to warrant a second visit, however the service was seriously lacking. I'm looking forward to finding a recipe from these guys and executing it, it will interesting adding their twists to the dishes.