Carmine’s Bistro

Carmines Bistro - Street view

Carmine’s Bistro – Street view

Lygon street in Carlton is the heart of Italian dining in Melbourne. And Carmine’s Bistro is one that stands out for creating authentic Italian dishes with a modern twist. The meals are exciting and innovative and most of all they are damn tasty.

Carmine's Bistro - Venue

Carmine’s Bistro – Venue

As you walk in there are beautifully set tables with big posters on the wall, quirky lamps and book shelves. It has a warm inviting atmosphere with lots of character.

Carmine's Bistro - Horse lamp

Carmine’s Bistro – Horse lamp

Loving this horse lamp. I love lamp.

Carmines Bistro - Carlton

Carmine’s Bistro – Carlton

They have an a la cart menu or you can select the ‘feed me’ option which is where they serve you a banquet of their favourite dishes. And believe me when they say they’ll feed you, they absolutely mean it. We had the ‘feed me’ option and I was literally feeling full until dinner time the next day. As the food comes out it’s exciting because you don’t know what’s next, and the food is fab so you can trust the chef will look after you.

Carmine's Bistro - Mozarella mousse

Carmine’s Bistro – Mozarella mousse

First up we had the mozerella mousse, which was delicious. The mousse was smooth and cheesy, topped with tomato and house made green olive oil. The Italian colours and flavours presented in a modern style starter was a great first impression.

Carmine's Bistro - Bruchetta

Carmine’s Bistro – Bruchetta

Next an array of assorted bruschetta served on a wooden board. There was anchiovy, capsicum and goats cheese, roasted zuchinni and eggplant, procuitto and bococcini and tomato with oregano and olive oil all on thick slices of ciabatta bread. They were nice flavour combos and a great accompaniment to a glass of wine or two. We had a really yummy pinot grigio.

Carmine's Bistro - Mushroom capaccino w onion donut

Carmine’s Bistro – Mushroom capaccino w onion donut

The mushroom cappuccino and onion donut was was like wow creative. The cappuccino was a shot of mushroom puree, which had a nice bitter taste (like coffee) with foam on top. The onion donut was a cheesey onion filling shaped like a donut, covered in bread crumbs and deep fried. They were a good pair.

Carmines Bistro - Lamb lollipops

Carmine’s Bistro – Lamb lollipops

The lamb lollipops were fun to eat. It was a lamb and pistachio meatball on a stick sitting on top of a shot of sambucca cream.

Carmines Bistro - Lamb lollipops w sambucca cream shots

Carmine’s Bistro – Lamb lollipops w sambucca cream shots

The sambucca cream was a beautiful creamy shot (not at all like an actual sambucca shot) with a very subtle sambucca flavour that complimented the meatball perfectly. The pistachio in the meatball was a great addition especially for textural value.

Carmine's Bistro - Scallops w lemon sauce

Carmine’s Bistro – Scallops w lemon sauce

The scallops were amazing. Perfectly seared and drizzled with a creamy lemon sauce and their house made green olive oil. Those scallops! Simple and stunning. It was served with some cubes of bread, which is just what you need to soak up every drop of that wonderful sauce.

Carmine's Bistro - Beef carpaccio

Carmine’s Bistro – Beef carpaccio

The beef carpaccio looked like a little garden, pretty like a picture. The beef was thinly sliced and had a soft smooth texture (sort of like sliced salmon). The beef was covered with an arrangement of sliced olives, fresh tomato and little lettuce leaves, with spots of creamy aioli, sharp parmesan, crushed almonds and rounded off with the zest of grated lime rind. It was magnificent. A beautiful balance of flavours and textures. Spring on a plate I call it.

Carmine's Bistro - Celeriac lasagne

Carmine’s Bistro – Celeriac lasagne

Celeriac lasagna was the next dish and was a fantastic idea executed well. The lasagna sheets were crispy layers of fried celeriac with a smooth celeriac puree in between each layer. It was served with tiny cubes of sautéed celeriac and had deep-fried celeriac strands placed on top. If you’re a celeriac fan (and I am), it’s safe to assume you will love this dish (and I did). It was served with a tasty mushroom consommé.

Carmine's Bistro - Chicken ravioli

Carmine’s Bistro – Chicken ravioli

The handmade ravioli was filled with chicken and had flavours of port. It was served with parsnip puree, charred cherry tomatoes and crispy fried basil. Yum!

Carmine's Bistro - Chicken cacciatore

Carmine’s Bistro – Chicken cacciatore

The chicken cacciatore was packed with flavour. It was cooked like a chicken roulade with a lovely nutty herb stuffing and the chicken skin was golden brown. It was served with a light buffalo mozzerella mousse and a tomato based sauce with potatoes and spring onions.

Carmine's Bistro - Nutella pizza

Carmine’s Bistro – Nutella pizza

And just when we thought we couldn’t eat anymore we had one more dish. A sweet one, a nutella pizza. It was a thin sweet pizza base covered in a thick layer of nutella topped with strawberries, a donut and vanilla icecream. It was decadent.

Carmine's Bistro - Coffee

Carmine’s Bistro – Coffee

And lastly coffee.

At Carmine’s they embrace all the flavour and heartiness of Italian homestyle cooking and present it in an exciting and inspiring way. The staff were friendly and made us feel right at home. I loved the ‘feed me’ option, it was an absolute feast. They delivered exciting renditions on authentic Italian classics.

I heart Carmine’s Bistro!

Olives x

Carmine’s Bistro
Address: 234 Lygon St, Carlton VIC 3053
Phone: 03 9663 3151
Trading Hours: Mon-Sun: 12pm-10pm everyday

Carmine's Bistro Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato
Note: Olive Sundays was invited as a guest to Carmine’s Bistro.



5 Lire

5 Lire - Street view

5 Lire – Street view

5 Lire is a little café in North Melbourne. One thing that stood out was that they use quality ingredients and we all know that makes all the difference. Inspired by Italy, the brunch style menu is modern and memorable. For a small unassuming café the food definitely sings big flavours.

5 Lire - Venue

5 Lire – Venue

It’s a cute little space. They’ve made good use of the area. They have a little open kitchen down the back where you can see them putting the meals together. I always like watching the chefs cook and plate up, sort of like watching an artist at work.

5 Lire - Coffee

5 Lire – Coffee

Coffee first. They do a good coffee.

5 Lire - Italian Croque Monsieur

5 Lire – Italian Croque Monsieur

We had the Italian style croquet monsier, which was a brioche loaf toastie w Nduja (spicy sausage spread), stracchino cheese, fig jam, lyonnaise onions and a fried egg. It was super indulgent, each bite was delicious. The brioche was thick slices of buttery bread and the melted stracchino cheese was soft and creamy. I hadn’t had nduja before but it sort of tasted like spicy salami, it was delish. The onions were caramelised and the fig jam added a bit of sweetness. It had some micro herbs for greenery and thin strands of chilli that looked like saffron on top that added an extra spicy kick. And then if that wasn’t indulgent enough, there was a fried egg topped with black sea salt. This was a fantastic Italian rendition on a croquet monsieur. Loved it.

5 Lire - Buttermilk ricotta hotcakes w nutella

5 Lire – Buttermilk ricotta hotcakes w nutella

We were seated near the kitchen and it seemed that every order that went out included at least one serve of hotcakes. The hotcakes were flying out of the kitchen like hotcakes! So of course we ordered them too. And it quickly became obvious why they were ever so popular. They were heavenly hotcakes of deliciousness. The lightly coloured buttermilk ricotta hotcakes were light and fluffy. There was a wild chocolate cacao and orange crumble and a good amount of Nutella around the side. The crumb had heaps of texture. There was crunch, seeds, puffs, a few dried fruit bits and whole roasted hazelnuts. It had a rich chocolatey flavour, which had that rich dark chocolate cacao bitterness which was perfect to balance the sweetness. On top of the pancakes was a choc hazelnut Nutella inspired semi-freddo, which was cold, creamy and delicious. The dish was topped with fluffy strings of chocolate Persian fairy floss. This dish was absolutely sensational.

The food at 5 Lire is amazing, a great place for a tasty brunch. It’s a small space so you probably don’t want to go with a big group of people. The staff are friendly and the food is absolutely delicious.

I heart 5 Lire!

Olives x

5 Lire
Address: 116 Errol Street, North Melbourne VIC 3051
Phone: 03 9329 2249
Trading Hours: Tue-Fri: 7am-4pm Sat-Sun: 8am-4am (closed Mondays)

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+39 Pizzeria

+39 Pizzeria - Melbourne.

+39 Pizzeria – Melbourne.

The name +39 is the country code used to make an international phone call to Italy. It works. It definitely has a better ring to it than +61 (the country code for Australia). The idea behind the country code is that the restaurant is like a ‘direct line to Italy’. I love the idea! This restaurant is definitely a direct line to the simplicity of food produced in Italy and the high quality produce.

+39 Pizzeria.

+39 Pizzeria – Friends and Food.

The place has a nice open layout and a casual vibe. A good place to catch up with friends for some quality pizza.The counter looks like a delicatessen with the glass cabinet of fine cheeses and cured meats. There were about ten 5kg super-sized jars of Nutella sitting in a row on the shelf. Their blatant obsession with Nutella made me feel right at home.

+39 Pizzeria - Front counter.

+39 Pizzeria – Front counter – Fine cheese and cured meats.

Their pizza crust is thin, crispy and delicious. I got the ‘diavola’, which has Italian tomato salsa, Fior Di Latte (mozzarella), hot salame (not a typo, salame is the plural of salami, facinating I know) & black olives. Yum, it was delicious! I suggest choosing a basic pizza with not too many toppings because the base is quite thin and can be a little floppy in the middle. Unless you have mastered the art of the floppy pizza, your toppings will slide right off and you’ll be left with a naked base…and not to mention a sad face. The margarita was a hit.

+39 Pizzeria - Diavola.

+39 Pizzeria – Diavola – Salami and black olives.

My friend got the Caponata Di Pane, which was a Neapolitan style bread salad with borlotti beans, rocket, marinated eggplant, cherry tomatoes, onions & parmesan. Thinly shaved parmesan on top is always a winner.

+39 Pizzeria - Caponata Di Pane.

+39 Pizzeria – Caponata Di Pane – Neapolitan style bread salad.

Another friend had the Lasagna – Italian style lasagne with Wagyu Bolognese, béchamel, Fior Di Latte & Parmesan. Yum!

+39 Pizzeria - Lasagne Di Wagyu.

+39 Pizzeria – Lasagne Di Wagyu.

Another friend had linguini with Crystal Bay prawns, cherry tomatoes, chilli, garlic & E.V.O oil. I was like O.M.G what is E.V.O.? Found out it’s Extra. Virgin. Olive. Ahhh, makes sense.

+39 Pizzeria - Prawn Linguine.

+39 Pizzeria – Prawn Linguine.

Two of my friends birthdays were that week, so we ordered a Nutella pizza to celebrate. We whacked some candles on that pizza and called it a birthday cake. When no one brings a cake, just add candles. Remember to order a dessert that the birthdayee would like and not the one you like. (It’s not your birthday!) Nutella was spread liberally over the thin dough base then topped with fresh strawberries with a scoop of vanilla bean ice-cream. The pizza was okay, but for me, the vanilla ice-cream took the cake. Pun intended. It was creamy, yummy and so vanillary that it almost tasted like lemon cheesecake or something. We ordered an extra scoop of vanilla bean ice-cream. So good!

+39 Pizzeria - Nutella Pizza.

+39 Pizzeria – Nutella Pizza.

This place is all about bringing a little part of Italy closer to home so people in Melbourne can experience authentic Italian food the way they do it in Italy.

I heart +39 Pizzeria!

+0L!v3s x hehe

+39 Pizzeria
Address: 362 Little Bourke St, Melbourne
Phone: 03 9642 0440
Trading Hours: Monday – Sunday 11am – 10pm

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Mama Baba

Mama Baba - Gnocchi ossa bucco w ricotta salata.

Mama Baba – Gnocchi ossa bucco w ricotta salata.

Mama Baba is one of the many restaurants opened in Melbourne by the renowned MasterChef judge George Calombaris. He is known for traditional meals with a contemporary twist. Mama Baba is Italian and Greek inspired with a focus on fresh ingredients and humble food. The restaurant has an industrial feel with the high ceilings and simply decorated open space. It has a casual atmosphere and is a great place to catch up with friends for dinner.

Mama Baba in South Yarra.

Mama Baba in South Yarra.

As a starter I ordered the lamb arancini, sitting on spots of black tahini, surrounded by little herbini. (by herbini I mean micro herbs, I just wanted it all to rhyme) It had the warmth of a Sunday lamb roast compacted into a small deep-fried appetizer. The black tahini was delicious and a perfect sauce to accompany the tasty arancini bites.

Mama Baba - Lamb arancini w black tahini.

Mama Baba – Lamb arancini w black tahini.

The pork was cooked to perfection.  It was soft and succulent and the crackle had good crunch. The sweet quince sauce was smeared on the plate in the shape of planetary rings, which made me feel like I was eating a funnily shaped, deliciously tasty mini pork planet with a side of apple and witlof salad. The pork was juicy and full of flavour. Uncomplicated flavours and perfectly cooked meat, humble cooking at its best! My friend ordered the gnocci ossa bucca with ricotta salata, which was also a winner. It was your typical traditional, hearty home cooked meal that gives you that warm fuzzy feeling with each bite. Yum!

Mama Baba - Pork belly w quince sauce & apple and witlof salad.

Mama Baba – Pork belly w quince sauce & apple and witlof salad.

For dessert I ordered the lemon lime bitters pavlova. It was fun. It was basically a sherbet bomb in the form of a dessert. It was a contemporary twist on a traditional classic. It was served with lemon marscapone, lime sherbet and bitters jelly. The lime sherbet was an interesting sensation, each bite tasted like fizzy.

Mama Baba - Lemon lime bitters pavlova.

Mama Baba – Lemon lime bitters pavlova.

You are able to make a booking, which is good, but the bookings are scheduled in two-hour sessions, which is bad if you like to talk. It does give you enough time to comfortably eat your meal without feeling too rushed. The food is served promptly and the staff provides good service. I understand the logic behind two-hour sessions but I do prefer to enjoy my dinner without a time limit. On the plus side, if you’re catching up with friends and want to hang out a little longer after dinner, Chapel st. is just a walk down the road.

Olives x

Mama Baba
Address: 21 Daly St, South Yarra VIC 3141
Phone: 03 9207 7421
Trading Hours: Mon-Thu & Sat 6pm-Late, Fri & Sun 12pm-3pm & 5pm-Late

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