Il Caminetto – The Overview…
Even early on a Sunday Il Caminetto is bustling. With a traditional Italian menu that’s almost entirely available either Vegan or Gluten free, this refreshed and revamped local restaurant is definitely a hit.
Food: Fish Croquettes, Focaccia Bruschetta, Boscaina pizza (GF), gnocchi with braised lamb, vegan “nutella” pizza,
What looks like a pizza oven with a few tables from the front opens out into a spacious, low lit restaurant through the back. Il Caminetto spans every dining opportunity from take away to quick dine in pizza to large group events or date date. It’s clear these guys are doing everything they can to become indispensable to the locals of Moonee Ponds.
They balance the menu well – making it clear they cater to dietary requirements while not becoming pigeon holed as a “speciality” restaurant. Their extensive menu of upmarket Italian dishes and pizzas, using a range of traditional top quality Italian ingredients gives a wonderful authenticity. We started with the fish croquettes and the focaccia bruschetta.
The fish crouquettes are gorgeous little crunchy bites than give way to a smooth centre. The fish flavour is mild and I liked that they were soft without being overly creamy. The leek sauce was beautiful it had a sharp little punch which balanced beautifully with the fish. An unusual and enjoyable entree.
The focaccia looked amazing and was well-topped with rustic, fresh ingredients. The tomatoes had been lightly softened for a smoother consistency and the taste journey from fresh tomato to slight saltiness to hint of charcoal from the wood oven is wonderful. A classic dish done very very well.
For mains we had the Boscaina pizza (GF) and the gnocchi with braised lamb. The gluten free pizza base has to be the best we’ve had. It’s a little more dense than the non-gluten free but it’s one of those difference you’d only notice if you tried both side by side. Enjoyed on its own it’s still a light and tasty pizza. The ingredients on this were delicious; it was like a gourmet ham and mushroom pizza. I loved the speck on top which had such a good flavour, avoiding the saltiness of many cured meats. The ‘nduja gave it a good spicy kick and it was finished off beautifully with truffle oil.
The gnocchi was such a warming dish. The well-herbed sauce added a distinct flavour and it was quite a different approach to a gnocchi dish, like an Italian take on a Sunday roast. The gnocchi itself was incredibly soft and light while the bite sized lamb chunks fell apart in your mouth. There’s a nice freshness from the peas, and honestly every single element just works. It’s one of those dishes that it’s difficult to find fault with.
We ended with the Vegan “Nutella” pizza. This Nutella is a dream – rich, chocolatey hazelnut, with the added bonus of no animals being harmed in the making (orangutans included). It’s not super sweet – the dough isn’t sugared, but it’s definitely a great indulgent way to finish off your meal!
Address: 114 Pascoe Vale, Moonee Ponds
Mon 5pm to 9:30pm
Tue 5pm to 9:30pm
Wed 5pm to 9:30pm
Thu 5pm to 9:30pm
Fri 5pm to 9:30pm
Sat 5pm to 9:30pm
Sun 5pm to 9:30pm
Parking: There’s a fair number of permit zones nearby, so don’t expect a park right outside the door on a busy night, but you should be able to get a spot within a few minutes walk at most.
Getting here on PT: Alight a 59 tram at Queens Park and it’s just a couple of minutes walk, or a 12 minute walk from Moonee Ponds station on the Craigieburn line.
Disclaimer: We dined as guests of Il Caminetto, Moonee Ponds. 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.