80 Bourke St, Melbourne
Phone: 9662 1811
Sometimes writing a food blog is a great thing. You get to try lots of new places, occasionally you get invited to events and get stuff for free, and you get to meet lots of other like-minded people. But sometimes it’s also a curse. You can fall into the trap of constantly seeking out the next experience, trying the brand new place, and you sometimes instinctively opt for the unknown purely because you haven’t blogged about it yet.
But then some days, you think, “Forget it. I’m just going to eat at this place because I like the food there. I know it, and it’s comforting.” I met up with Alex of the MSG for dinner the other night, and funnily, as two food bloggers, we were a little unsure where to go. The last time this happened, we ended up at Ca de Vin, which was underwhelming. So this time, I suggested we go to the Cellar Bar at Grossi Florentino, as I’ve been there in the past, and had always enjoyed myself there.
The Cellar Bar is the cosy little annex which hangs off the main Grill and Upstairs parts of the Grossi Florentino restaurant. It’s by far the most casual of the three – I don’t believe they take bookings, and tables are small and close together – and they serve up what I think is pretty traditional trattoria fare. The atmosphere is warm and convivial, and the seasoned waiters treat you with a relaxed familiarity which I find charming. Even though the unspoken assumption that we both wanted Parmesan on our dishes was a little bit unexpected.
This visit, I finally tried a dish on the menu that I’d been eyeballing for years – the Trippa alla Fiorentina, or Florentine Tripe.
Alex had the parpadelle, with duck livers and mushroom.
Oh, and I promised Alex I’d mention the lack of cracked pepper at Cellar Bar, which I too thought was a little odd.
All in all, Cellar Bar is a nice informal place, probably a good second or third date venue, but have a fall-back, because it gets very busy on weekends! I haven’t been to the Grill or the famous Upstairs Fine Dining, but I hope to soon. Well, the Grill part, at least. Not sure my budget will be ready for the Upstairs any time soon.