Regional Italian dining at it’s best, Osteria 20 is a highlight of Glenferrie Road’s casual dining scene.
Food: Salmon Crudo, South Australian Octopus, Papadelle Rabbit, Duck Breast & Crispy Leg, Hot Chocolate Fondant
I didn’t really look into Osteria 20 before visiting. Given its location I imagined it would be fairly student oriented: simple, no frills and casual, so I was blown away when i first stepped into its stunning interior! With a lovely outdoor seating area, splashes of greenery, some fab graffiti/wall art, an interesting, funky interior and the most stunning lamp you’ve ever seen it’s still distinctly Melbourne, managing to be both swish and laid back at the same time.
We got to try several dishes from their vast menu: the focus is on regional Italian cooking, so while there are your usual pizza and pasta options there’s a much bigger focus on seafood and game meats. These are the kind of dishes you’d sit down and enjoy in Verona, in Florence, in Sicily – not just those you find in the well-worn tourist streets of Rome. And if you needed anything more to add to the authenticity – you can listen to the friendly staff chat to their regular customers in their native Italian (so cute to watch a little girl ridiculously excited to introduce them to her “Nonna”).
We started with the Salmon Crudo. The salmon was sliced thin, and this dish was so fresh. The lemon and fennel both opened your palate and it was just the ideal dish to whet your appetite for what was to come. For our second entree we had the South Australian Octopus. This was perfectly charred, which brought out the gorgeous flavour, and it was well accompanied by a crisp, interesting salad and some crunchy fried potatoes. The sauce was sweet – kind of resembling a honey soy and while different from anything I’ve tried before I felt it worked really well. A lot of textures going on with this dish, interesting and enjoyable to eat.
For mains we had the papadelle rabbit and the duo of duck. The only word I can use to describe the rabbit is mouthwatering. From the minute it hits the table you are just greeted with the rich, meaty, garlic and cheese smell that brings back everything wonderful about Italian food. That first mouthful doesn’t disappoint either – the rabbit falls apart and is perfectly paired with the light al dente pasta – allowing both to shine and take equal weight in this gorgeous dish. The generous serve of cheese also doesn’t disappoint. I’m always ready to be critical of Italian food lacking authenticity, but this was easily on a par with the best dishes we enjoyed in Florence – which was by far the highlight of our Italian culinary tour.
Now if anyone had told me duck and lentils were a thing, I would have been skeptical, but it totally worked. Both have quite striking flavours, but blended together it was such a pleasant surprise, The duck leg was excellent, and while the breast was very slightly inconsistently cooked it, I loved the brave combination of flavours and it’s easily something I’d order again. We finished the meal with a hot chocolate fondant and a great coffee. While it probably wasn’t a great choice as we were so full, we found our second stomachs and managed to devour this rich chocolatey pudding. It was presented adorably and I loved all the different little elements to it – particularly the little cube of banana fudge on the side. It’s the kind of dessert your Nonna would make you, just a bit fancier and perfectly finished off a wonderful evening for us!
Address: 818 Glenferrie Road, Hawthorn
Mon 11am to 11pm
Tue 11am to 11pm
Wed 11am to 11pm
Thu 11am to 11pm
Fri 11am to 11pm
Sat 11am to 11pm
Sun 11am to 11pm
Parking: I literally have no clue where people park in Hawthorn? There’s a car park near the Lido cinema, which is probably a good 10 minute walk and limited street parking, but we opted for the train.
Getting here on PT: It’s about a 7 minute walk from Glenferrie Station, and also on the 16 tram route.
Disclaimer: We dined as guests of Osteria 20, Hawthorn. Reviews are honest and based on our own personal experiences. We cannot guarantee things at a restaurant won’t change (including, but not limited to, menu items and opening hours, so please confirm any details with the venue before visiting)