Spinetoli, South Yarra
Spinetoli are bringing a nice freshness to Italian dining. It’s not trying to compete with the classics but is taking an Italian influence and using it to create some beautiful and modern Italian-Australian dishes.
Food: Tuna Tartare, Calamari, Slow cooked pork, Kingfish Risotto, White Chocolate Mousse,Tortina di Frolla
Stepping into Spinetoli you’re immediately struck by the beautifully considered aesthetic of the space. A thoughtful fusion of classic and modern design elements, it is fashionably high class, reminding us of of some of our favourite London restaurants, but with a warm and welcoming environment.
The carefully chosen artwork framed large and dominating the walls makes you feel like you’re dining in an art gallery, and the intimate soft lighting is stunning. You can tell that each element has been decided upon after much thought and nothing is included just for the sake of being contemporary or stylish, but because it fits in with the owner’s own tastes and interests. There isn’t the pretence here of being a traditional Italian eatery. It feels authentic because it is.
Upon entering, we were warmly greeted and shown to our table, and once we were settled they explained all the menu and specials options for us in great detail and offered several of their own recommendations. We loved how relaxed the atmosphere was and how staff always seemed to turn up at our table exactly when we needed them. Even when the restaurant got a little busier later on, it always felt like we had their full attention.
For starters we opted for the Tuna Tartare and the Calamari. These were both great looking dishes, but we think the tuna had the edge here. Such a delicately plated dish. It also tastes pretty great too. There are a lot of different flavours on this plate; the balsamic has a nice sharp kick and the two types of tuna each offer up a wonderful taste. We loved the little cubes of lightly seared tuna. There’s so much going on in this dish and everything tastes so fresh; we could definitely eat this dish everyday.
The calamari, by comparison, was a bit more of a straightforward entree. We did love the battered veggies, and though we felt some of the calamari pieces were a little small, it had a lovely taste. And there was lots of it as well.
Our choice for mains was a difficult one to make, as there are so many great options, but on this occasion the specials sounded too good for us not to try. We went for the Kingfish on a green risotto, and the slow cooked Pork with a side of roast potatoes. What a great choice we made! The kingfish had a great, strong taste balanced well by a crisp citrus flavour. The herb risotto had an almost green smoothie aroma – so many great flavours and more of an umami, rather than veggie taste to it, which was a pleasant surprise. It also had a great consistency, remaining light and avoiding becoming a sticky blob that risotto can sometimes turn into by the end of the meal.
The slow cooked pork was an incredibly flavourful dish. Such a juicy, tender meat that melted in the mouth, it really was a great choice. A twice cooked Jerusalem artichoke and brilliantly crispy pork crackling finished the dish beautifully. We initially thought the extra roast potatoes we ordered would help bulk up this dish but honestly, there is so much meat on the plate, it is incredibly filling in its own right. Having said that, we’ll never say no to roast potatoes, and these were a great little addition to our meal.
Somehow, after all that wonderful food, and after a little recovery period, we just about had space for dessert. The Tortina di Frolla is a simple but elegant looking tart. The soft, crumbly biscuit base and passionfruit infused italian cream give it a lovely light texture and the additional topping of nuts and dried apricots make this a nice citrusy way to end a meal. We also sampled the white chocolate mousse, which was a special for the evening and almost tasted like eating pure melted white chocolate – delicious! The perfect end to a excellent meal.
Address: 25 Toorak Road, South Yarra
Tue 6pm to 10pm
Wed 12pm to 3pm and 6pm to 10pm
Thu 12pm to 3pm and 5pm to 10:30pm
Fri 12pm to 3pm and 5pm to 11pm
Sat 12pm to 3pm and 6pm to 10:30pm
Sun 6pm to 10pm
Parking: There was quite a bit of nearby street parking, which we were surprised about. May be trickier in the day but there was no trouble in the evenings.
Getting here on PT: It’s a 5 minute walk from South Yarra train station, or on the 58 tram route.
Disclaimer: We dined as guests of Spinetoli, South Yarra. Reviews are honest and based on our own personal experiences. We cannot guarantee things at a cafe won’t change including, but not limited to, menu items and opening hours, so please confirm any details with the venue before visiting.