March 20, 2009

Cafe di Stasio

Dining Date: March 2009

2009 Rating: 30th, 2 Stars

Chef: Steve Rofe

Location: 31 Fitzroy Street, St Kilda, Victoria

And so the Melbourne Food and Wine Festival comes to an end. This weekend I volunteered at the Cellar Door event at South bank. I thought it would be a good idea to immerse myself fully into the food and wine experiences of Melbourne. I wont say much about it because it wasn't such a pleasant experience, all I'll say is that I have a new found respect for event staff.

But before the Festival came to an end, I managed to squeeze in another value lunch. This time at St Kilda's Cafe di Stasio. 

The view from outside

Daz and I got down to St Kilda last weekend when winter came early to Melbourne. I thought that the foul weather would deter many diners, but I was wrong, the restaurant was well and truly packed. The tightness of the tables was a little tricky to maneuver as a customer, I don't know how the wait staff managed to get round it. It seemed like they had it under control, well every table expect ours. I had to ask for the bill twice, and I don't think my water was ever topped up, even after asking multiple times. But that doesn't upset me so much, I know how busy it can get in restaurants, and sometimes its easy to over look things. I managed to snap this photo in between tables being changed. I took it because I like the "unfinished look" of the dining room. It really reinstates that fact that you are sitting in a cafe, despite the fact that the waiters are very formally dressed in white waiters shirts and black slacks. 

The dining room in Cafe di Stasio

Now onto the food. Again we decided to go for entree and main option. Daz received the Rigatone al forno (Baked rigatone with tomato, mozzarella and Parmesan). Apparently he wasn't too impressed by it, but said it tasted pretty good. I didn't get to try it, I was WAY to involved in my dish to care what was on the end of his fork.....which is odd for me.

Rigatone al Forno (Baked rigatone with tomato, mozzarella and Parmesan)

For my main I decided to get the Pate di Fegatini di pollo (chicken liver pate). This dish was made up of two quenelles of chicken liver pate, with some herb olive oil drizzled over the top, a piece of chargrilled toast, with more olive oil, I'm guessing the orange blob was fresh quince paste (it was delicious) and then  salad comprising sliced sweet spiced gherkins, parsley and Spanish onion. I really liked this dish, it was really yummy. I thought that the size of serving was very generous and I was so pleased that they were generous. I really like a good pate, and this was one of the better ones I have had. The pate was smooth without being greasy, the tart salad was good to cut through the richness of the pate and the sweetness from the quince paste lifted the flavour of the entire dish. The only fault I could think of is that it needed more toast, thankfully I had saved my complimentary bread roll and use that to spread the pate goodness onto. YUM!  

Pate di Fegatini di pollo (chicken liver pate)

The mains, poor Daz it looks like his totally lucked out on our trip to Di Stasio. I'm usually the one receiving the less interesting dishes, now it was his turn to stare lovingly at my fork! He received a very boring Spezzatino di Manzo con Piselli (Yearling beef ragu with peas). It came with a very bland buckwheat polenta. Last month we had eaten a similar version at The Grand which was flavoured with Parmesan and was quite pleasant. This version was just plain old polenta. I don't know why Daz ordered this dish, I'm pretty sure he doesn't like peas anyway. But you know what they say, one persons trash is another persons treasure....hang on....I'm using the wrong analogy right? 

Spezzatino di Manzo con Piselli (Yearling beef ragu with peas)

My main was a little more exciting, Filetto di Maiale con Barbabietola (Salt and pepper crusted pork fillet with beetroot). I'm a sucker for beetroot, so there was no other option for me, I had to have this dish, and I was pleased I chose it. The salt and pepper crust on the pork was a good way to prepare the meat. Every bite of it was perfectly seasoned.....funny that. Looking back actually, the dish was very simple, pork and beetroot. The flavour of pork goes really well with root vegetables, and I had never thought of pairing it with beetroot before. I am ashamed to say I ate every bite on the plate, and I did not share.

Filetto di Maiale con Barbabietola (Salt and peper crusted pork fillet with beetroot)

I'd like to go back to Cafe di Stasio. I'm not sure that we received the normal service that is on offer, and I'd like to go at a time when there is no pressure to quickly turn over tables and have the comfort to order anything on the menu. In the meantime I'll have to make do with reading every one else stories. 


DiscoveryMe said...

That rigatone looks like such a tiny serve, almost as if someone had already eaten the rest!

Arwen from Hoglet K said...

Your entree must have been amazing if you forgot to sample Daz's. The quince paste sounds wonderful - I'm jealous!

bunchesmcginty said...

Hm, beetroot and pate.

Maria@TheGourmetChallenge said...

Hi Discovery Me - The serving size was pretty small. It was a bit of a shock when it arrived. But I dont think Daz was too unhappy, I had plenty of pate to share!

Hi Arwen - It was very good. I've been craving it for ages! I was even thinking abut trying to make it at all I need is a recipe.

Hi Bunches - hmmmmm....they were yum! *drool*

Lorraine @NotQuiteNigella said...

The mains look pretty good but that rigatone is miniscule! I would have been a bit shocked too :o