La Madonna is one of our first restaurants chosen from the glamourous 80 Collins Street precinct. Unlike Farmer's Daughters and Society, where their front entrance is on the ground floor, La Madonna is tucked away on the 3rd floor of Next Hotel. After climbing the marble staircase, you will immediately be greeted by a shimmering chandelier made of hundreds of golden chains. The interior of the bar and restaurant is stylish, and the colour scheme of black and brass creates a luxe ambience. I wished we had time to enjoy a few drinks after dinner at the cosy bar. Never mind, next time. When we settled down at our table, our eyes were immediately drawn to the massive, four-metre-high glass cabinet for cheese, charcuterie and chef Adrian Li's Campari-lacquered ducks.
The seasonal menu offers snacks, pasta, long haul, sides and dessert. The menu is curated from the Italian and Chinese heritage of both chefs Daniel Natoli and Adrian Li. A modern fusion of Italian-Asian cuisine is what you are expecting. E.g. togarashi smoked walnuts and miso eggplant lasagna. For the night, we chose the chef "Mangiare" tasting menu. Let's eat!
We started our meal with a bang - the multi-layers of ocean trout crudo, avocado, sour plum, finger lime and sorrel. The acidity of the sour plum and finger lime cut through the oily trout was simply delicious. I love the textures and flavours.
The compressed tomato filled with stracciatella served with basil and yuzu kosho on grilled bread was delectable. Never tasted this combination of flavours before was just a wow. The yuzu kosho is a Japanese condiment made from fresh chilli and then fermented with salt, zest and juice from the yuzu. I wanted more of this dish.
The beautiful and flavourful lamb ribs and the tender meat melt in your mouth. You definitely want another piece.
The pasta dish is the classic Tuscan pappardelle with beef, wild boar and fennel ragu. A tasty egg pasta served with flavourful ragu just reminded me of Florence.
Another Florentine dish - 1.1 kg dry-aged T-bone served with Diane sauce. The medium-rare cooked steak was tender. The classic Diane sauce was a yummy complement to the natural sweetness of the steak. A nostalgic dish for sure. Again, it brought back the memory of my first visit to Florence, ordering the massive Florentine veal. It was a deliciously tender steak perfectly cooked.
My all-time favourite Italian dessert is the tiramisu. I love how the chef made the tiramisu in a big dish. I love the perfect texture with the chocolaty, coffee and liquor flavours. I wished we could scoop directly from the serving dish! It a 100% delicious!
After having lived in four countries on three continents, I genuinely love the fusion of modern Australian cuisine. The exciting combination of Asian and European ingredients and flavours is dynamic, imaginative and utterly delicious. No doubt, I will be back to enjoy more creative dishes from La Madonna.
I hope you enjoy reading the review and will dine at La Madonna.
103 Little Collins St, Melbourne VIC 3000