Osteria Ilaria is a new sister restaurant of Tipo 00 which located right next to its Italian sibling on Little Bourke Street. I enjoyed the food at Tipo (see my review in 2016) and was happily booking Osteria Ilaria without any hesitation.
The restaurant is long and deep filled with wooden high-tables, bar seats and more formal seating at the back with a private dining room. Definitely, this bigger venue is welcomed by the Tipo happy fans. Same as Tipo the open kitchen at the center where you can see all the cooking actions. The white-painted brick walls, wooden floor and warm dim lighting which created an austere charm.
The food menu has a good selection of seafood, meat and vegetable dishes from starters to bigger plates. Since the food here is Italiano-Mediterranean centric hence all dishes are for sharing which is a bonus to us as we can try more dishes than the normal a la carte dining. Here are the dishes we chose.
Zucchini flower, jerusalem artichoke, mizuna - the crispy fried zucchini flower stuffed with cheese and artichoke mousse, served with the salsa verde of mizuna. Excellent texture and flavours!
Harvey Bay scallop, cauliflower hollandaise - perfectly seared scallop served with creamy cauliflower hollandaise. What a comforting little bite in a cold winter night!
Paccheri pasta, Crystal Bay prawns, sorrel - big fat tube pasta topped with meaty prawns and delicious sauce. The flavours of the seafood bisque, tomato and sorrel puree sauce are absolutely amazing. No doubt this is a popular dish for sure! The Tipo beautiful pasta tradition...
Pork liver sausage, spiced sourdough, rhubarb - grilled pork liver sausage served with crumbs of spiced sourdough, pine nuts and rhubarb sauce. The sharpness of the rhubarb and the crumbly texture enliven the meaty sausage perfectly. Spot on!
Charred cime di rapa, corn, cacio e pepe - charred corn & rapa served on creamy polenta and topped with fresh grated cheese and pepper. The sweetness of the creamy polenta goes so nicely with the rapa. What a yummy vegetable side dish.
Whole Whiting, pippies, sea herbs - an impressive presentation of a fish! The boned Whiting is perfectly cooked and tender, topped with pippies and sea herbs. The buttery sauce gave the smooth and silky note to the sea flavours.
Roast corn fed duck, radicchio, hazelnuts - the tender roast duck breast could be a little bit pink to my liking, otherwise, the flavours of the meat and sauce are delicious. The bitter taste of charred radicchio and crunchy hazelnuts added some nice contrasting texture.
Pistachio semifreddo, caraway - this could be one of the best pistachio semifreddo I have ever eaten. The flavours and texture are beautiful! The chocolate and caraway seed crisp sits on top is amazing too.
Olive oil chocolate mousse, streusel - creamy silky dark chocolate mousse topped with texture chocolate, biscuits, micro herbs and a drizzle of olive oil. The chocolate mousse itself is to die for. The olive oil infused an interesting grassy flavour to the chocolate.
The wine list at Osteria Ilaria is impressive, starting from cocktails, bubbly to white and red. A good selection of Italian wines as well as other interesting European, US and local Australian producers. What caught our attention is this bottle of 2008 Croatia wine from the region of Postup. Never tasted any Croatian wine before and indeed it is a nice surprise. We also took the recommendation from the sommelier, try a couple glasses of red from Sicily and they were delicious too.
My favourite savoury dish - Paccheri pasta, Crystal Bay prawns, sorrel
My favourite dessert - Pistachio semifreddo, caraway
We had a fantastic meal at Osteria Ilaria. Loving the unpretentious dishes with an adventurous combination of flavours and ingredients. Beautiful presentation of the food accompanied with the beautiful ceramics... such a joy for the night. Delicious food, good wine list and friendly staff... definitely a lovely place for romantic dinner or spending a good time with family and friends. We will go back soon to try other interesting dishes. Hope you will have the same enjoyment of the food and wine there too!
367 Little Bourke St, Melbourne VIC 3000
(03) 9642 2287