You’d walk right passed Mister Bianco of Kew unless you had your magical, adorable Italian restaurant spectacles on (wouldn’t they be cool!). Humble from the front, but full of excitement once inside, this tiny eatery fills itself to the brim with happy noises of laughter, eating and drinking. To say it’s warm would be true in both the physical and metaphorical sense.
On the direct recommendation from Alicia of A Chronicle of Gastrology, we met up with the talented and fun food blogging couple, Helen & Davin from One Piece Left to talk about, well, food of course. And to eat food. And eat more food. And more food! Ordering was insanely easy since we all agreed that, in order to do justice to our catch-up, we’d get the Shared Table Menu at $73pp for 4 courses. Once our server confirmed they’d cater to my sole vegetarian needs at a table of carnivores, the sharing began!
We can’t remember which bottle of red we ordered to start, but it was cracked opened quickly and poured into our glasses as we stuffed our faces with little bread morsels heavily dusted in flour, smeared with butter and sprinkled with a spicy salt. We also pecked away at the variety of small Mount Zero olives on the table. Ahhh! The perfect beginning to the slow growth of our waistlines!
It didn’t take long before our small table started to get overstuffed with food. My carnivore mates’ eyes widened when a plate of freshly shucked oysters with a limoncello granita hit the table. Gone as quickly as you can say slurp, these were a total success with all! The crisp tartness from the granita really complemented the oysters, or so I was told! <wink>
At the same time, our server delivered a special pressie just for me! It was like Christmas, but not really, but kinda! 😛 Not that it looked like cauliflower or a fritter, but sitting in my little black bow was a plump cauliflower chickpea fritter doused in romesco sauce and pomegranate. To say I loved it would be an understatement; I could’ve eaten five more of these easy! Hands-down, with my eyes closed. Try me.
Next up for the meat eaters was warm, shallow little dish of pork and veal meatballs “al forno” with buffalo mozzarella. The juicy balls of meat were very tasty and, needless to say, mopped up quickly!
There’s nothing like a playing with your food, so when the Arancino hit the table we all smiled with childlike curiosity. Each overstuffed, fat tomato and mozzarella balls were sitting as poised as they could possibly be; almost as if they were saying “Hey! We’re busting to get outta here!” I was just itching to inject mine with that pesto mixture sticking out the top! I’m pretty sure I giggled when I did it, too! 😀 Firmly crunchy on the outside and soft in the inside and, of course, squirts of pesto oozing out of the top. Fun and yum: always a good combo!
I had another vegetarian special-delivery of seasoned root vegetables. Cooked and seasoned just right, this was another great little dish just for me! I was feeling pretty spesh at this point!
Outstanding was the word for the Goat Ragu Ricotta Gnocchi. The goat was tender and slow cooked with fluffy gnocchi balls dancing underneath a green olive gremolata and a bed of crispy leeks that I secretly thought looked like the weeds in my backyard (LOL!) For Hubby Bear, this was a ‘must have again’ dish! Two thumbs up!
I never knew how cute caramelle pasta was until my next course was placed in front of me! Well – since we’re being all honest and upfront with each other – I’ll confess, I never even knew pasta came in this shape! There was roast pumpkin stuffed into these candy-shaped caramelle parcels, swimming in burnt butter, pear and pepitas! Oh! As a texture fanatic, I loved the contrasting texture of those crunchy pepitas against the softer pasta! Delicious and just the right balance of flavours!
Although we can’t quite recall the exact name of this particular pasta dish, the one thing we do remember is that the flavour was incredible! A mixture of mushroom, sage and an obligatory foam for fancy pants dishes – even Hubby Bear declared it a standout!
At this point, our memory is started to fade; a second bottle of wine can do that to you. The menu said barramundi but Hubby Bear was sure that it was perfectly cooked Salmon for this fish course. Not that anyone would ever complain, it appeared the kitchen had a mental relapse just like us, as they brought out four pieces instead of just three – oh well! I left the meat eaters to fight for the last piece! 😉
No, the food doesn’t stop there! It just just kept coming and coming and coming! So, the next plate was a perfectly cooked dry aged eye fillet with grilled caponata and a cute little jar of red wine sauce. The meat fest was nicely balanced with a rocket and parmesan salad.
My vegetarian main course was a mix of greens, curled up sheets of pasta topped with parmesan wafers. There’s probably a proper name for this dish, but I don’t what it was! ha! Anyhoo, I liked the fact they were heavy-handed on the greens so I didn’t get over-pasta’d given the previous courses! The pasta and greens really thrived with the balance of the cheesy, salty crunch (CRUNCH! YUM!) of the wafers.
Dessert is always a sign that a night is coming to a sad close! But it wasn’t over yet; so we all eyeballed the large plate which proudly displayed a mini-pot of Tira Mi Su, a bowl of mixed Gelati, and a little line-up of Chocolate Cannolo soldiers! The gelati was absolutely beautiful! The strawberry, lime and hazelnut flavours were all robust as they melted in our mouths.
The cannolo was just sweet enough, with it’s firm exterior and soft filling. It was also just the right size for its richness!
And my only complaint with the Tira Mi Su was that the abundant dusting of chocolate nearly choked me as I practically inhaled my portion! ha! So the complaint is really about my piggy-ness, and not with the actual dish! It juggled the mixture of coffee, chocolate and cream perfectly.
So if you’re not convinced to go here by now, then we will declare: If you live in a 50km radius of Kew, then a trip to Mister Bianco is worth your time and petrol! The food is a great mixture of classic Italian versus innovative fun dishes; the atmosphere a blend of old school charm and modern conveniences. In short, book in and enjoy the shared table menu! Bella!
Address: 285 High Street, Kew Victoria 3101, Australia
Tip! If you have an Entertainment Guide, these guys are in it (2016)! Which means you’ll get the brilliant discount to boot! Woot!