170 Little Collins St
Melbourne VIC 3000
Phone: (03) 96546778
The moment we walked in, we were greeted by a warm, dimly-lit restaurant. The restaurant proper is based around an 'U-shaped' bar with small intimate tables spread around it.
Il Bacaro is a relatively small and intimate place that buzzes with life and chatter. Whilst we were disappointed of not being able to be accommodated at our booked time (8.30pm), we were quickly accommodated at the bar, enjoying a house prosecco. This is a great alternative to Champagne, refreshing and slightly sweet.
Soon we were settled at our table. The hardest thing to do was choosing what to have! With the slowdown in my metabolism, I find I have less reserve in terms of calorie-loading and so what I choose becomes really important.
The bread was a standard affair - white bread with olive oil. Nothing to really report here except that it was quite tasty.
The risotto was rich and smooth, and the rice, perfectly al dente. The flavour filled the oral and nasal cavaties with a rich aroma, and the taste was just sensational. I could have happily continued eating it, but I had to control myself due to limited energy intake allowed.
My quail – is there anything more I need to say? Double cooked with pomegranate, cocoa bean, buffalo curd, crisp pancetta and endive. The quail meat was succulent and tasty. The jus was a perfect match to the quail.
My main was the roasted duck breast and baked duck leg with parsnip puree, baby beetroot and cranberry. I know, I should have chosen something else, having had the quail already, but this duck did not disappoint. Succulent and sweet, the duck was just perfectly cooked. The beetroot and cranberry were great counterpoint to the duck.
M chose the Wagyu eye fillet. By this time, I was starting to feel quite full, but I can report that the eye fillet was cooked to medium-rare perfection.
Our sides were roast potatoes and the spinach with garlic. Whilst the roast potato was nice, my preference is still for Buzo's version. The spinach was fantastic with a great balance of flavour from being tossed in olive oil and garlic. You can't go wrong with olive oil and garlic, I believe.
By this time, we were pretty much 'maxed out' in terms of caloric intake! I decided to order just one dessert, the chocolate pudding with hazelnut praline and orange puree, but we were surprised by a second dessert when it was presented to us. I was glad the we were given a complimentary ginger pannacotta, as my eyes are bigger than my stomach, and I had been finding it difficult to make a decision, having tossed up between the two desserts...
Since my dining experience there that evening, Il Bacaro has now become my 'must visit' Italian restaurant when I’m in Melbourne. The after-taste of the mushroom risotto and double-cooked quail lingers on…