Friday, December 11, 2009

La Notte (Carlton) 12/09

At 140 Lygon Street this restaurant is surrounded by competitors. On a Thursday night they were well patronized with the front section fully occupied. The place has a formless architectural design, split level, some sections separated by wide brick arches. The rear of the restaurant seems to be set up for large parties. Toilet doors, with colourful lead glass panels, seem to have come from old train carriages - all quite odd.There is a bottle shop on the right and a bar in front as you enter. Tables are set with attractive black on white table cloths but they offer paper serviettes. There is an extensive a la carte menu of largely Italian cuisine with prices for mains around $30 for most dishes. There is also a movable blackboard with a list of specials.
Oysters at just over $2 ea, in a variety of presentations, are especially inexpensive. The exception is the sea food platter at $80 for two with an extra $50 if you want lobster. Internet reviews were mixed but there was one particularly complimentary about the platter. Not surprisingly that is what we chose. It comes on a very large square platter
with a side dish of mussels
in a mild chilli tomato and pepper sauce and a separate dish for the lobster which is offered grilled, Newberg or mournay which we selected.
The platter is packed with oysters, plain and Kilpatrick, bugs, crab, and soft shell crabs, fish, calamari and prawns, both peeled and unpeeled, with plenty of lemon scafes and tartar sauce for which we had to ask. This was served with bread or chips ($6). Finger bowls came soon as did extra serviettes. A bottle of Riesling
on ice and glasses filled the good sized table. They have a very good arrangement for wine. Step over to the bottle shop, select your wine, sometimes you can taste it before purchase, and have it served at the bottle shop price. Some things about this meal were outstanding. The calamari were the most delicate and tender that I can ever remember. The soft shell crab had retained a fantastic sweetness that is invariably lost when they are presented deep fried, the lobster was nicely prepared, not over cooked, and retained a very good flavour and texture in the rich sauce. Although I enjoyed the dish the mussels were in a dominating sauce and were very small but that is probably a seasonal problem. I'm sure all the ingredients were extremely fresh but the rest suffered severely from being too well cooked, overcooked really. I think the worst thing you can do to sea food is over cook it. Nothing is more easily lost than those delicate tastes. There is a selection of cakes and pastries which were very good, both the tiramasu and the cheese cake were big serves and good choices. So close to being very good.
Score: 13.25/20


Vee said...

Ooh, I live around the corner from Lygon and I'd pretty much given it up for lost. Will definitely try the seafood platter, wonder if you know if it's anywhere as huge as the one at Red Mullet??

Elliot and Sandra said...

Hi Vee
I don't know how it compares to THe Red Mullet but we hope to find out before too long
Yours is a language which I have no knowledge of and my dictionary was useless. Just for fun try English!