Grossi Florentino (Cellar Bar)

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.

The tripe almost acts as a pasta in this dish. A delicious, soft-yet-springy, decidedly meaty pasta. It should come to no surprise to the reader that I am a fan of most things offal, and I’m not sure I would recommend this dish to those who don’t like the idea of eating parts of the animal other than the flesh. The tripe was beautifully cooked, and worked well with a bright and fresh tomato sauce. Carrots and some raisins brought some sweetness to the dish, which offset the acid of the tomato brilliantly.

Alex had the parpadelle, with duck livers and mushroom.

The pasta was cooked to perfection – just al dente – and there was a good amount of mushroom there, but Alex felt that it was a little lacking in the duck liver department. And the sauce seemed a little on the runny side. I felt a little bad, because I had mistakenly recommended the dish. I think last time I was there, it was parpadelle with a duck ragu.

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.

Grossi Florentino on Urbanspoon

One Reply to “Grossi Florentino (Cellar Bar)”

  1. I wanted to go to this place for ages. Looks like a good little place for pasta. I totally agree with you about looking for the "next" place. Its seems like a never ending quest, and now disappointments are even more cutting

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