+39 Pizzeria

Italian food is one of my favourite cuisines, maybe it’s because of the parallels between Chinese and Italian cuisine. They can both be greasy take aways, or gourmet perfections.

+39 Pizzeria is definitely the latter of those two. Here’s a fact of the day for you, +39 is the international dialling code for Italy, and +39 Pizzeria clearly specialises in simple but flavoursome Italian food.

Crudaiola – $26.50

I don’t know about you, but I definitely trust the opinions of the staff at a pizzeria, hence why we ordered the Crudaiola, a staff favourite! There was essentially only five ingredients on this pizza, hand torn buffalo mozzarella, prosciutto di Parma, marinated roma tomatoes, rocket and parmesan. That’s the beauty of Italian food though, creating an extraordinary dish with a handful of quality ingredients.

Each of the elements brought something to the table; creaminess from the buffalo mozzarella, umami from the prosciutto, acidity from the roma tomatoes, just the right amount of bitterness from the rocket, and savouriness from the parmesan. Seriously though, every bite was heavenly. If only the base was a little crispier, then it would’ve truly been perfection, but hey, it came pretty damn close.

Riviolo Aperto – $28
We chose the pasta special on the day, which was a fresh egg pasta with calamari and prawns ragu bisque sauce, and a light cherry tomato and white wine dressing of sort. The pasta sheets were thin and even, and were cooked very well, the tomato sauce itself had a great depth of flavour, and there were also some fresh chillis for some heat. Overall, this was again, a well executed dish with a clean taste, although the portion was quite small.
Small Sweet Pizza – $12.00

Because of the serving size of the pasta though, we were able to fit in the dessert, so maybe it was a blessing in disguise after all? The dessert pizza had everything I loved, nutella, strawberries, vanilla cream, and some all-so-delicious carb that comes in the form of a doughy pizza base. It really is a classic combination that you can’t go wrong with.

+39 Pizzeria is exactly what I think of when it comes to quality Italian food, perfect executions that allow simple ingredients to shine. The restaurant was buzzing the whole night, and you should definitely making a booking to secure yourself a table!

How to get there:
+39 Pizzeria is located on Little Bourke Street, which is a 10 minute walk from Flinders Street Station, or if you hate walking like me, catch any of the three trams (#19, #57, #59) from the Elizabeth Street exit of Flinders Street Station, and get off at Bourke Street Mall/Elizabeth Street, and the restaurant is two minute walk away!

+39 Pizzeria Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Frank’s Cakes

Frank’s Cakes is quite popular amongst the locals, and several of them had made a recommendation. When I happened to have a couple of hours to kill in the area, I decided to give it a go.

Chai Latte – $3.70

The chai latte came out in a cute beige mug, with a generous amount of cinnamon on top. The chai itself was a bit weak for my liking, to be honest though, that’s pretty much always the case.

Latte – $3.70

The latte fared better on our visit, with a thick and creamy frothing on top, and a pleasantly smooth blend of coffee beneath.

Eggs Royale – $16.00

As expected based on its location, Frank’s Cakes had quite a basic and traditional menu. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, I mean, classics done well in itself is a challenge. The eggs royale looked quite promising when it landed on our table, with a golden hollandaise drizzled down the smoked salmon and toasted English muffin.

The eggs were poached perfectly, something that I’ve realised should not be taken for granted over the years. The acidity of the hollandaise counteracted the richness of the salmon really well, however, the portion was on the small side of things, and the English muffin was pretty much soaked in egg yolk and sauce.

Spanish Omelette – $17.00

Another egg dish, because it’s the best way to start a day. Chorizo has pretty much become the symbol of Spain, in my book anyway, and there was plenty of it in this omelette.

The omelette itself had a great creamy texture, while the chorizo and Spanish onion added some bite and crunch to it. The Spanish onion also lent some sweetness to the omelette. The only downside was that the omelette became more watery as we were getting through it.

Frank’s Cakes had a bit of a funny vibe, kind of like a place that used to be homey and welcoming, but has since become more commercialised. I did hear that the cakes and baked goods were great though, but it was too early in the day for me to try some.

How to get there:
Frank’s Cakes is located on Scoresby Road, catch bus #693 towards Oakleigh Station, and get off at stop Scoresby Road/Ferntree Gully Road, the cafe is two minutes walk away.

Frank's Cakes Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Cheesey Bites

So I had one of those lazy af days, where I literally did nothing all day. And those days aren’t complete until you’ve ordered some food to be delivered – something I’ve never done by myself before surprisingly. Because it was at a weird hour, my options were quite limited, nonetheless, I settled on some good ol’ pizza from Cheesey Bites. I called in to ask how long delivery would take, the guy said just under 35 minutes, and offered me a 10% discount if I ordered on the phone, so naturally, I did. In less than 30 minutes, my phone started ringing, and my order was here!

Cheesey Bite (small) – $8.90

The Cheesey Bite had a lot more toppings than I anticipated – always a good thing. There was baby spinach, capsicum, mushrooms, pineapples, chicken, sweet chilli sauce, chilli flake, mozzarella cheese, all sitting on a creme fraiche base, pretty much a mellower version of a typical supreme pizza. Next time I’ll probably opt out the sweet chilli sauce, because I think that made the base extra soggy. Overall however, the ingredients all worked well together, and I smashed down two slices in record time.

Nachos – $8.90

However, these nachos sounded a lot better on paper, with mozzarella cheese, pepperoni, capsicum, and salsa. Because the whole thing was covered in cheese, it was impossible to get an actual corn chip out, and the layering was just a bit off overall, which meant soggy chips, and sad me T______T

Although the experience at Cheesey Bites definitely could’ve done with some improvement, I’m still quite happy with it, just because of the fast delivery time, and prompt service. And let’s be real, I can never say no to food delivered to my doorstep, literally.

How to get there:
Cheesey Bites is located on Station St, literally 20 metres away from Nunawading station. Alternatively, order online like I did!

Cheesey Bites Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

#ZOMATOMEETUP | D.O.C. Delicatessen

Don’t you hate it when a lecturer is so boring and it makes the most interesting content unbearable? I used to hate Wednesdays because of this, since I picked out the subject based on the false belief that the content would be super intriguing, I mean okay, the readings are pretty dry and that’s not the lecturer’s fault, but a good lecturer really makes all the difference. So glad I switched out of that subject. But anyway, this long rant introduction does have a purpose – a few weeks ago, after a bad Wednesday, I was lucky enough to be invited to another Zomato Meetup at D.O.C Delicatessen, and the food was good enough to turn my day around!

Parmigiano Reggiano

I arrived a bit early, and we were served some beautiful cubes of parmigiano reggiano drizzled with honey. Everytime the board came out, we demolished it within seconds, hence why I only managed to snatch a photo with two last remaining pieces on the board. Now when it comes to cheese, I really am no connoisseur, I mean, I like them enough, but lack extensive knowledge of the specific region or the making process of the cheese themselves. However, I didn’t have to be an expert to appreciate these hard and gritty parmigiano reggiano with a nutty taste.

Salumi and Local Handmade Mozzarella

We started the meal with the antipasto plate, and without a doubt, my favourite was the buffalo mozzarella! The texture was so light, that it made me go back for way more than I should have. We were so unprepared for the amount of food that was going to be served.

Everyone oohed and aahed when the first main was brought to the table in a giant cheese wheel. Seriously, how are we supposed to eat pasta served on regular plates after this?!

Mezza Paccero from Gragnano w/ Spaccatella Tomatoes, Buffalo Ricotta & Basil

The pasta tasted as good as it looked. The simplicity of it was what really impressed me, the trio of ingredients – tomato, basil, ricotta, dressed the Mezza paccero beautifully, and the quality of the ingredients were definitely top notch.

The next main was cooked on a stove right next to us, and of course, the food bloggers gathered around and took plenty of photos!

Handmade Black Gnocchi w/ Scampi & Scallops on Pea & Broad Bean Puree

The freshly seared scampis was loaded onto the black gnocchi. This was probably my favourite dish of the night, even though I was getting sooooooo full by this point, I still managed to finish most of the plate! The gnocchi had a very light and almost silk-like texture, and paired beautifully with both the unami of seafood and the delicate pea and broad bean puree.

DOC Tiramisu

Of course, no Italian dinner is complete without some good ol’ tiramisu. This was again, beautiful (am I overusing that word?). The sponge were light and fluffy, and soaked up the espresso liqueur quite well. Every bite was sweet, but not overly sweet, with a coffee after taste.

Caffe Neopolitan Stovetop Caffettiera

The coffee was very refined and strong, I gotta admit, it was a bit too bitter for me.

Handmade Biscotti

I could snack on these for days, if I wasn’t literally bursting with food by this point! I shared a hazelnut biscotti with a fellow blogger, and it was wonderful! Chewy in the centre, with a crunchy exterior, these are definitely made with love.

Amara Blood Orange Digestive Liquor

Although this was a blood orange liqueur, it helps with digestion apparently (which we definitely were in need for)! It had a 30% alcohol level, and I only had a tiny little sip.

The evening was filled with laughter, amazing food and friendly service! And it reinstated the importance of great quality produce to me. I can’t wait to be returning to D.O.C. for some more of their beautiful Italian food!

How to get there:
D.O.C. Delicatessen is located on Lygon Street, a short 5 minutes walk from the tram stop Lincoln Square.

I dined as a guest of D.O.C Delicatessen, courtesy of Zomato.
DOC delicatessen Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Sofia’s

Sofia’s is an Italian family-style restaurant that’s known for their generous servings, as can be seen in the photo above haha. A lot of Italian and Chinese (since they’re all about the value) families can be seen dining in the large restaurant, although the food may not taste all that authentic, for the amount you’re paying, there’s really nothing much to be complained about.
Garlic Bread w/ Cheese (L) – $11.40

A large round focaccia-like bread is topped with plenty of garlic and cheese. I love the corner pieces the most, since it’s super crunchy yay.

Fritto Misto – $29.50

An assortment of seafood – calamari, scallops, fish bites, prawns, were lightly coated in a crumb before deep fried to golden brown.  None of the seafood was overcooked or anything so that was nice, and the tartare sauce was of course, the perfect accompaniment, but I’m not sure why it’s green. The salad on the side was kind of one of those obligatory salad that needs to be chucked together to make it seem like we’re eating something remotely healthy, a bunch of random lettuce leaves, tomato were thrown together with some grated carrots on top, and either it was left undressed, or the dressing was very minimal.

Tagliatelle Sofia (L) – $18.90

Unfortunately, this was the disappointment of the day. The tagliatelle, a type of pasta that’s similar to fettuccine, was way past al dente, with no bite to it at all. The white sauce was actually okay though, with a mix of prawns, scallops, bacon and mushrooms.

Sofia’s is a decent place to take your family as long as you know what to expect. If it’s value for money you’re looking for, and you aren’t fussed about having some less than traditional mediocre Italian food, then you’ve found the place.

How to get here:
Catch tram 75 and get off at Sevenoaks Road/Burwood Highway, and it’s a short 5 minutes walk from the tram stop.

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Universal

Universal Chicken Parmigiana – $14

This may not be the best parma ever, but it’s certainly one of the biggest. And for a little over $10, there’s really nothing to complain about. Although the cheese doesn’t cover the entire chicken schnitzel, and it was a little dry. The chips were amazing, not super crunchy by any means, but the combination of the light seasoning on the outside and the fluffy centre was delicious, I would polish them off if the parma wasn’t so gigantic.

Chicken and Avocado (Spaghetti) w/ Lemonade – $12

Their lunch menu was pretty cheap so we ordered a pasta dish off that too. This was quite bland however, and it’s not what I expected at all. I thought the chicken and avocado will be cut into slices and tossed through the pasta, oh well. Ample amount of salt and pepper was needed, as the sauce lacked flavour.

we tried LOL

Universal can be a bit of a hit and miss, and the service can be pretty atrocious at times. But $14 parma just isn’t something I’m willing to part with just yet, so yeh, this is a restaurant I will return to when I’m extremely hungry but only have a $20 note on me.

How to get there:
Universal is located on Lygon Street, hop on any tram heading out of the city from Flinders Street or Melbourne Central and get off at Lincoln Square, it’s a short 5 minutes walk from the tram stop.

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