04 December 2010
As part of my goal to make it to as many Dine 2010 lunches* as possible without taking too many super-long lunch hours (I'm pretty sure an "hour" can be stretched up to 90 minutes, right?) E and I visited the not-usually-open-for-lunch winebar Vivo Enoteca Cucina, tucked away in a little corner of Edward Street. We were seated at a bright and airy windowside table but the interior, chock full of wine bottles and dark wood, felt like the type of place you could squirrel away cosily with a few glasses of wine and a couple of good friends on a rainy day.
With the $25 set menu we had a choice of two courses and a glass of wine. E chose the caprese salad with fresh buffalo mozzarella, tomato, basil and capers. I was a bit apprehensive when he ordered it because I tend to associate caprese salad with summertime, with vine-ripened tomatoes and fresh green basil (it was still August, after all).
I shouldn't have worried: the main focus of the dish was on the cheese, complemented by thin slivers of tomato and dainty basil leaves, just enough variety to create an intermingling of flavours reminiscent of a hot sunny day. The capers provided an added salty, briny dimension that went beautifully with the the otherwise fresh, earnest flavours on the plate.
I had the arancini, little crumbed saffron risotto balls that arrived with a few rocket leaves and parmesan (could have been pecorino, though, now that I think about it) shavings. These were a joy: the outside fried to a perfect crisp, the insides soft and gooey with risotto and melted mozzarella.
They were drizzled with truffle oil and a bit of balsamic vinegar, but I was too fixated on the delight of deep-fried cheesy goodness (really, it must be an instinctive thing) to pay much attention.
I wasn't really sure that they tasted particularly saffron-y, but again, that may have just been me blindsided by the cheese and the crunch. (Mmm, cheese and crunch...) Soon they had disappeared and I found myself wanting more.
But it was time for the next course - and E, never really a dessert person, ordered the fettucine with Italian sausage and capsicum in a vodka pomodoro sauce. This seemed a bit hastily put together, though I guess you could say it was in a rustic fashion, and I thought the sauce may have been on the dry side, but E wolfed it down, especially the meaty chunks of sausage.
Meanwhile I had moved onto dessert, a very fluffy, almost mousse-like lemon cheesecake. I think with cheesecakes I tend to prefer the denser, richer, let-me-just-lay-down-and-die variety but this was probably a much better version for lunchtime seeing as I had to go back to work just a few minutes later (and especially since I had been having veeeeery sleeeeeepy afternoons at the office after my big meals at Pravda and Hippopotamus the week before).
Overall it was an enjoyable lunch - service was friendly and prompt, the food was good (especially those arancini, oh boy!) and although we didn't get to peruse their very extensive wine list (they are a wine bar, after all), that was probably best saved for an after-work drinks and nibbles session anyway.
Aaaaaaand..... I'm so excited for this Sunday (5 December) because they're going to be in the Market Kitchen at the City Market serving up these very same arancini, along with mussel fritters and Italian meatball sandwiches. That's my breakfast sorted!
Vivo Enoteca Cucina
19 Edward St
(04) 384 6400
Open Mon-Fri 3pm till late, Sat-Sun 5pm till late.
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*(I promise this is the last of the horrendously outdated Wellington on a Plate posts and after this there will be more recent material on the blog.)