446 Chapel Street, South Yarra
Phone: 9827 8531
First off, let’s just be clear this is not the Southbank La Camera. This is the one on that strip of Chapel St which has quite a few non-descript eateries, sandwiched between the Jam Factory and Commercial Road. We were going to see a movie at the Jam Factory, so it seemed natural to grab dinner at one of these places first.
La Camera – “the room” in Italian – is a pretty unpretentious Italian bistro. The service was upbeat and responsive, though the place wasn’t exactly busy the night we stopped in.
I ordered the lasagna, because I was in a meaty mood, and it had been a while since I’d had lasagna. It arrived, as you can see, smothered in extra bolognese sauce, and there was no end to the meat-and-tomato flavour which pretty much defines the dish. It was a touch too acidic from the tomatoes, but I think that’s a sign of freshness (?) and would have liked a little more cheese, but all in all, I wasn’t disappointed.
Mr N had the lemon and lamb risotto, which was nicely subtle. He kindly let me sample a spoonful. I wouldn’t have thought of pairing those two flavours in a risotto, but it worked. The rice seemed just a touch on the over-cooked side for me.
Miss S had the spaghetti napoli – she’s a vegetarian – which she said was good.
Not having been to many of the restaurants along that strip, it’s hard for me to say if La Camera is relatively good or bad, but it serves up decent Italian standards, so if that’s what you’re in the mood for before a movie, I’d say give it a shot. The food came out pretty quickly too, so that helps!