Cosi – The Overview…
On arrival in Cosi you’ll think you’ve walked into a trendy South Yarra bar. It’s dimly lit interior is in stark contrast to outside and the curved bar that greets you will easily trick you into thinking this is a drinking establishment. But, venture a little further and you’ll see finely laid tables, hear the upbeat Italian music and smell the delicious flavours emanating from the kitchen. Out back there’s a secluded, walled courtyard that’s perfect to enjoy on a sunny day.
Food: Calamari Fritti, Prosciutto & Gnocco Fritto, Tortellini all Cacciatora, Gnocchi al Ragu di Ossobuco, Insalata di Rucola, Zabaglione Caldo e Freddo, Latte e Malto
One thing we’ve learnt about South Yarra is never be scared to walk into an empty restaurant, especially if you’re dining slightly early in the evening. Despite Cosi being almost deserted when we arrived it gradually got busier – with most people arriving having already made reservations. The people of Chapel Street and surrounding areas see so many places come and go that, in our experience, they’re typically reluctant to trust new places. Despite the fact that these new places (even some of the ones who don’t last) are often doing things better than those long term establishments.
For starters we opted for the calamari and the prosciutto. The semolina crumb on the calamari made it an unusually light dish and the crisp vinaigrette on the rocket salad provides an ideal contrast to the calamari and keeps the dish exciting. The prosciutto with fried gnocco was a large serve. Sourced from Italy, and simply dressed with fennel and rosemary, it had a light sweetness to it on first bite before the herbs shine through. The fried gnocco is a great textural add to this dish and both entrees, while simple, showed a sincere thoughtfulness in their execution.
For mains we sampled the chicken tortellini and the ossobuco – a favourite dish of mine from our time in Italy. Pasta Dishes are a little on the small side so worth ordering a side or two if you’re hungry or making sure you start with entree. However don’t go overboard, as while not the biggest serves they are rich and filling with strong flavours. The tortellini looked amazing – really wow – probably the prettiest tortellini we’ve ever had, and the crispy chicken skin was a great addition as it’s another one of my favourite things (I know I’m starting to sound like Oprah). I loved the crunchy texture this brought to the dish and it had so much flavour from the herbs I could still taste it even after writing this whole paragraph. Stuffed full of fluffy minced chicken the tortellini are a beautiful flavour. Just slightly firm on top they could have done with another 30 seconds cooking time but other than that we thoroughly enjoyed them.
The ossobuco smelled delicious. If a plate of ossobuco doesn’t greet you with a mouthwatering smell they’re doing it wrong. The ragu was rich without being heavy and while you could taste the tomato I liked that this took a back seat to the herbs. The slow cooked veal, while chunky and plentiful in the bowl, just melted in your mouth. The gnocchi were excellent, firm without being doughy and this is a dish any Milanese restaurant owner would be proud to serve.
We finished with the Latte e Malto – a rich milk cake dessert topped with hazelnut icecream and the Zabaglione Caldo e Freddo – a Marsala custard with vanilla gelato. The Zabaglione custard was almost foam like, and came with a real hit of that Marsala. The biscotti added a nice texture and it offered a creative, light dessert to finish off a big meal. The Latte e Malto was a much heavier dessert and the rich milk cake is instantly filling. The dulce de leche adds a slight bitterness just to cut through that creamy cake and it was finished off with a scoop of hazelnut ice-cream. It was nice to try something a little different from the typical Italian desserts.
We loved the top quality service at Cosi. From the small touches like placing our sparkling water in an ice bucket to the way the staff could confidently talk about the menu. It was clear they’d sampled and enjoyed the food on offer and were passionate, knowledgeable and confident.
Address: 68 Toorak Road, South Yarra
Mon 12pm to late
Tue 12pm to late
Wed 12pm to late
Thu 12pm to late
Fri 12pm to late
Sat 12pm to late
Sun 5:30pm to late
Parking: There’s actually a fair bit of street parking in this area of Toorak Road, so particularly in the evening you should find a spot ok.
Getting here on PT: It’s on the 58 tram route or is a short walk from South Yarra train station.
Disclaimer: We dined as guests of Cosi, South Yarra. 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.