Eating good rustic traditional Italian food in Melbourne always brought back memories of those home-made, unassuming but yet scrumptious meals we had at the neighbourhood trattorias or osterias in Tuscany and Venice. Through a recommendation from a foodie friend (he and his wife are the regular patrons), we were introduced to this little Italian bistro Franco Choo's in Prahan. Literally, this 20-seats bistro is a family run business by chef Steven Choo and his Italian partner Franco. Hence the mash-up name of their beloved bistro. Food served here is home-style cooking based on the traditional dishes with some modern twists. The menu is changing every month using fresh seasonal produce.
The monthly menu written on the chalkboard is serving two or three dishes from entree, main to dessert. There are always non-meat dishes from entree to main to keep a happy pescetarian or vegetarian. Here are the dishes served on the dinner date in late November... delicious spring menu.
Ricotta gnocchi, scallops & zucchini cream - this is the best gnocchi we had recently, so light and fluffy. The zucchini cream is the perfect match with the gnocchi & seared scallops.
Charred asparagus, salame, diced egg, pistachio pesto - love the slightly charred flavour of the asparagus. The pistachio pesto is so yum. Instead of crispy pancetta, the salami added the extra savoury taste to the dish.
Vitello tonnato - poached veal with pickled kohlrabi, tuna mayo, watercress & capers. The veal is so tender just melted in your mouth. The mayo flavoured with tuna is so creamy and light. The capers and pickled kohlrabi added the tangy flavours. A truly beautiful classic Piedmontese dish!
Involtini di pollo - roast chicken breast stuffed with cheese & spinach served with eggplant, walnut and agrodolce sauce. The chicken breast is perfectly cooked. The sweet and sour agrodolce sauce binds the chicken and eggplant together. The crunchy walnuts added the texture to the dish.
Flat-iron steak tagliata - the medium rare steak served with corn, cucumber, barley and salsa verde. The beef is tender and packed with flavours. Another beautiful execution of the classic steak tagliata with salsa verde.
Zuppa inglese - Italian style trifle with layers of almond torta, roasted peaches, custard and broke-up puff pastry. An absolutely delightful dessert... loving the layers of different flavours and textures. I could easily eat another serve of this!
Dark chocolate panna cotta - served with banana, chocolate sauce, crushed peanuts and sesame. Beautiful flavour and consistency of the panna cotta. An interesting combination with banana, crunchy peanuts and sesame.
The wine list at Franco Choo's is not extensive, but it is serving both the Italian and Australian vino that matches with the food. We totally enjoyed the two bottles of red which were new to us. The first bottle is Gaglioppo ‘I Mori’, Ippolito, Calabria, 2014. The second bottle is Sangiovese/Canaiolo ‘Vino Nobile di Montepulciano’, Valdipiatta, Toscana, 2013. They are delicious! Of course, there are some well-known varieties such as Arnies, Montepulciano D’Abruzzo or Nebbiolo for you to choose as well.
My favourite savoury dish - Ricotta gnocchi, scallops & zucchini cream
My favourite dessert - Zuppa inglese
We had a wonderful meal at Franco Choo's. Enjoying the delicious home-style cooking, non-fussed classic Italian dishes with some interesting new twists. The super friendly staff and intimate ambience which make you so welcomed... sit back and relaxed! Franco Choo's is a lovely place for romantic dinner or simply catching up with family and friends. Definitely, we will be back to try their ever-changing monthly seasonal dishes. If you love Italian food, you will enjoy the beautiful food and wine there too!
179a High St, Prahran VIC 3181
(03) 9529 7310