Spatula, Spoon and Saturday

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Melbourne Food Review: Grossi Florentino Cellar Bar

Note: pictures are from various visits over the years. So I might be a bit hazy with the description.

Be prepared for the upcoming gushing. The Cellar Bar is probably one of my all-time favourite Melbourne haunts. Sure, I’ve been to its big brothers Grossi Florentino: the Restaurant (where Josh proposed, now everyone, go awww) and the Grill but neither of them impressed me the way the Cellar Bar does and continues to do so over the years.

It’s a place we go back to when we find ourselves wandering in the CBD and want a nice meal for not a lot of money. It’s the place we go to for dessert and coffee at 11pm at night.

(Complimentary bread and dipping olive oil)

The menu at the Cellar Bar seems rotate itself around with a few pasta dishes and meat. I am yet to have a horrid dish from there and believe me, as much as I am against visiting the same restaurant over and over, we still manage to end up there 5-6 times a year.

(Bucatini with some sauce, sorry I can’t remember anymore!)

So when you’re lucky enough to score a table, and you usually do even with a few minutes wait, you will be given the menu. Once you order, they will bring you some lovely fresh focaccia and some sort of crusty bread with dipping olive oil while your dish arrives about ten minutes. It’s never slow here despite the fact that it can get quite packed. I like that.

(gnocchi with gorgonzola sauce, I think)

We normally order a pasta dish each but I have had a couple of meat dishes there and it really is lovely. Very Italian. Very well done. And I never miss dessert there. Figure that.

(side salad – always interesting combination of vegetables and perfectly dressed)

The service does range between being slightly ignored and the waiters coming around to flirt with you (if you are two girls. One of the waiters kept coming around to talk to my friend Lillian because she reminded him of his granddaughter. He even showed us pictures) and your glass gets topped up impeccably depending how busy it is.

(a side salad on a different visit)

I have to say it is rare that we get bad service – food rarely arrives late and the order is never wrong but when the place gets busy, it may be hard to get your waiter’s attention but really it’s never been a problem with us. It is just a simply lovely, lively atmosphere in a very handsome dining room. It is also very inimate, with tiny cafe tables (so rock up on a date night but not with 5 of your mates after footy) and just great for a lovely night out.

(Duck confit with stewed swiss chards, orange and radichio salad, I think)

(Pappardelle with duck liver ragu, I think)

(Penne with smoked chicken, peas and cream sauce. Josh’s favourite.)

And of course, we have desserts. The desserts are not on the menu. You can ask the waiter to rattle out dessert names but you will just get a bunch of Italian words or a brief anglicised version which don’t really make sense. I usually just go up to the case and pick out something.

(no idea what this one was, sorry, too long ago!)

(they called this ‘bread and butter pudding’ it was awesome)

(chocolate torte)

Enough gushing and food porn, I reckon! Actually there can never be enough food porn but I have run out of semi-decent pictures. Just go.

Grossi Florentino: Cellar Bar
Address: 80 Bourke St., Melbourne VIC 3000
Phone: (03) 9662 181