Caffe E Cucina

A nice Italian restaurant is always the perfect entree to a movie! When all we could find was a 9:40PM movie session at Jam Factory, we just knew that the stars were aligned for an Italian meal. Caffe E Cucina is one of the top rated Italian restaurants in the area, so the decision was an easy one.

Caffe E Cucina was opened in 1988 with a vision to introduce Italian hospitality to Melbourne. For a restaurant to be open for 30 years is a feat rarely achieved. Helen and I have witnessed numerous restaurants close down throughout the years, many which we considered of high quality. The restaurant business is truly cut throat, with everything having to work in harmony to have any chance of survival.


After visiting Caffe E Cucina I can understand how they stood the test of time. The service first and foremost was simply impeccable. Our dedicated waiter was quite a charmer, and had a constant smile that threatens to take your woman away. We experienced this service in Italy as well, the charm, the wittiness, and the smoothness. They make you look foolish for not tipping. Our waiter also remembered our whole order without writing anything down, and did not get one thing wrong. He was always on the ball to the point where our wine glasses were never dry, but we didn’t even notice him pour the wine!


Helen and I don’t place a huge emphasis on food authenticity, but if you’re someone who prefers authentic Italian food then Caffe E Cucina certainly delivers. The produce from the cured meats to the seafood was fresh. I couldn’t fault any of the dishes, there was nothing that steered me the other way. Picking any favourites here would come down to personal preference. I particularly enjoyed the swordfish carpaccio and linguine with seafood! The swordfish with the acidity from the grapefruit, pomegranate and tomatoes was fine tuned to perfection. An appetising entree that leaves you craving for more. The linguine with seafood was probably one of the best pastas I’ve had. Seafood already has so much natural flavour, so it’s always best to let it shine. That’s exactly what Caffe E Cucina has done. They haven’t overcomplicated this pasta and I was rewarded with fresh clean flavours. The linguine was cooked just right resulting in great texture. The respect paid to the ingredients was evident in all their dishes.




Now I did notice a little outdoor balcony outside where I was seated. This was apparently the ‘Rolls-Royce’ spot of the restaurant! It’s so special that it only fits two people. Helen and I would love to give this balcony experience a go in the future, but it does lead me to my one and only minor criticism: $230 minimum spend! I understand that they may not want two people out there sipping on water for 3 hours, but $230 sounds a bit steep indeed…

Apart from this minor criticism which technically hasn’t even affected me yet, Caffe E Cucina really is the place to be for Italian cuisine in South Yarra. These guys are without a doubt the real deal, and we cannot wait to head back!.


Caffe E Cucina
Approx $65 AUD per person
Address: 581 Chapel St, South Yarra VIC 3141
Phone: +61 3 9827 4139

Caffé e Cucina Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato



Every once in a while, a restaurant just comes along and blows you away. Their execution is precise and yet they do it so effortlessly. Ladies and gentlemen, I would like to introduce you to Farmhouse, our favourite restaurant of 2016 thus far. I know we’re only early into 2016, but it would take a miracle to topple Farmhouse as our restaurant of the year.

When we recently went to Sydney, we made it our mission to not only revisit some of our favourite restaurants there, but to also expand our horizons in search of something fresh. When Helen told me excitedly she booked a restaurant called Farmhouse for my birthday, I was more than intrigued. She told me this mythical story about a place that brings the country to the city. Country style cooking using fresh produce and everyone sits on a large wooden communal table. That was all I needed to know, and I never looked up the menu or any photos as I wanted to be surprised by what they had to offer.

To my amazement, I found out they were located at Kings Cross! Not the sort of place I’d expect a restaurant with this theme to be located at, however once we got there, I realised that they blended in so seamlessly with their surroundings that I actually forgot where I was. A top notch restaurant should be able to take you on a journey, a place that makes you forget where you are, and their food capable of bringing back vivid past memories, this is what Farmhouse does so well.


When we arrived we were greeted with an earthy and wooden, rustic feel. Their Farmhouse name was actually etched on a wooden palate outside the entrance – how cool is that?! There were 3 seats available away from everyone else at the bar, that looks into the restaurant itself. However, our preference was always going to be the communal table! Once inside, more rustic wooden cabinets to the left and the exposed wooden beams really set the place off! Due to us being a little late for the 6:30PM session, we were a little bit behind with the first course. This wasn’t a problem at all, as they quickly brought the food out to us, and we soon caught up to the others with our lightning eating speeds!


Farmhouse hits that magical sweet spot of $60 AUD per person for their 5 course set menu. Even though Helen and I spend a lot of money eating out, it still feels a bit expensive when the food is $100 or above per person. This price is exceptional value for the quality of food you get here.

Whilst all the dishes were great, there were 3 dishes which really stood out. The spanner crab with a light corn soup, asparagus and radish, the whole baked Rainbow trout with mash, farmhouse tabbouleh, wasabi/sour cream condiment, zucchini & pine nut salad and the cold ‘apple pie’ were the cream of the crop! The texture and sweetness of the crab meat is boosted when combined with the light corn soup. The whole rainbow trout was really fresh, and I love it when fish is served whole! I think we tend to forget what fish looks like at times due to us eating so many fillets. Texture was soft and tender, the wasabi and sour cream condiment gave it a nice little kick. The colours of the whole carrots, the thin slices of zucchini and the rough scatter of dill shows that this is indeed country style cooking.




I was most skeptical with the cold ‘apple pie’, as I don’t generally like apple pies much. This turned out to be one of my favourite desserts of all time… this cold and deconstructed apple pie was very creative as it had granita on top. The combination of the crumble was crunchy and every bite sent chills up my spine! Delicious.


Our visit to Farmhouse has been an eye opening experience. By creating a set seasonal menu, the chef is working around the fresh produce. I don’t believe it should ever be the other way around as no chef could make bad produce taste good. By having a set menu it presents everyone with the same foods, therefore people don’t get to pick their own dishes. Whilst this may sound negative, I believe it opens up people to foods which they otherwise would not order. This is a form of food education and I like the fact that it takes people out of their comfort zone. For example, I would have never ordered a cold ‘apple pie’ if I saw it on the menu, but because I got it as part of this set menu, it became one of my favourite desserts of all time! Funny how sometimes having a choice can hinder your food experiences.


Chef and co-owner Mike Sung also came out to have a chat to us and even gave us free dessert wine for my birthday. Farmhouse really is the complete package and I’m so happy to have enjoyed this experience. I cannot wait to revisit next time I’m in Sydney. Until then we wish Mike and his team all the best!


Approx $60 AUD per person
Address: 4/40 Bayswater Rd, Rushcutters Bay NSW 2011
Phone: +61 448 413 791

Farmhouse Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

48H Pizza & Gnocchi Bar


Recently Davin and I were invited by the lovely owners of 48H, Fabio and Michele, to a complimentary Italian culinary experience. They proudly claim to be Melbourne’s first ever pizza and gnocchi bar and so we were quite excited to check it out.

Although this was a sponsored dinner, we reminded ourselves that we had to be honest with our thoughts on our experience. And of course we wanted to share this experience with you too!

Upon arrival, we were greeted warmly by Fabio, who shook both of our hands and welcomed us inside. The restaurant itself was lovely, with the rustic brick walls, wooden tables and a touch of modern lighting. It wasn’t too big of a restaurant so it gave you that cozy feel which we immediately liked.


Fabio gave us their menu and took his time talking us through all their dishes. He provided some recommendations then asked us if we were interested in trying anything in particular or if we were happy for them to decide on the dishes they wanted to serve us. We were more than happy for them to run with it as we were open to anything and everything!

He started off by pouring us some bubbles, their NV Prosecco ‘Tasi’ DOC imported from Veneto, Italy. Now I don’t normally drink sparkling white wine but this was exceptional. It was crisp and refreshing and actually went very well with the meal. They were very generous throughout the whole night with the pouring.


The first dish served was the salmon marinated for 48 hours and served with butter, black salt and herbs. It came with fresh, warm homemade bread. It was a lovely a dish and the olive oil that the salmon was marinated in was smooth and luscious, you could have plenty of it! The salmon portions was presented in a cute jar and was also very generous.


Next up was their potato activated charcoal gnocchi in gorgonzola (blue vein cheese) sauce, radicchio and vin cotto. Oh my gosh this dish was amazing! Those that know me know that I love all cheeses especially blue cheese. This sauce was made to perfection. You could really taste the blue vein but at the same time it was not too intrusive. The charcoal black gnocchi was also so soft, light and fluffy. It did not feel heavy at all and you could eat lots of it!

Fabio explained that all their gnocchi is made with gluten free flour which makes them lighter and easier to digest. You could really taste and feel this when you’re eating it. The only thing I would have to say is that the presentation could probably have been a bit better. But I cannot fault the dish.


We were then served one of their pizzas – the Lipari which consisted of Sicilian cherry tomato sauce, prawns, caper berries and organic oregano. Again this was an amazing dish and Davin’s favourite. The lightness and sweetness of the cherry tomato sauce combined with the perfectly cooked prawns and the thin and light pizza crust was a match made in heaven.

The pizza dough is where their 48H ethos comes in because they make sure that the dough is leavened for at least 48 hours to ensure that the pizza is light and aromatic. Again, you could really taste this.

Finally dessert was a twist of the traditional panna cotta where just the fatty part of the milk was used to create the dish. With the addition of blood orange syrup for sweetness, it made it a very interesting dessert.


Throughout the meal, Michele who is the chef, also often came out to happily talk with us about his dishes and the fresh produce he uses to maintain the high quality of the food. You can tell that both Michele and Fabio are so very passionate about their food.

Even though we expected the great service they provided because after all, we were invited, we did quietly observe around the restaurant and saw that they were also treating their customers around us with just as much care and respect. They seemed to be attentive, chatty and warm and welcoming to everyone which was a good sign.

Overall, it was an amazing experience. We really enjoyed Fabio and Michele’s hospitality and would definitely recommend 48h to others. Although the presentation of the dishes is probably not up to the level of other high quality restaurants, the food itself was top quality, fresh and tasty. So if you’re ever in the mood for some Italian, do check them out!


48H Pizza & Gnocchi Bar
Approx $40 AUD per person
Address: 373 Malvern Rd, South Yarra VIC 3141
Phone:+61 3 9824 2573

48H Pizza & Gnocchi Bar Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato