During MFAWF I roped a few of my colleagues into express lunches ($35) at Taxi Dinging Room and Grossi Florentino. The MFAWF express lunches are a great way to try out some of Melbourne's best restaurants without breaking the bank.
Grossi Florentino is one of Melbourne’s best known Italian restaurants, run by Guy Grossi. It has three sections in a grand building at the top end of Bourke Street – the Cellar Bar, the Grill and the upstairs Restaurant, which is a grander affair.
Upon calling to make my booking at Grossi I was assured that the grill was serving the same express menu to the booked out upstairs (I’m a bit sceptical about this). Nonetheless, the Grill was definitely a gathering place for movers and shakers that Friday lunch with gossip girl type sightings of a former test cricketer and a rather unpopular former immigration minister tucking into Italian fare.
We started out meal with good crusty bread with top notch olive oil and some herb blends for dipping.
My colleague JP began his meal with a delightful salad of fig, prosciutto, rocket and pecorino.
The other two of us started with a deliciously rustic trofie pasta with spiced Sicilian sausage.
JP (maintaining his individuality) ordered the chicken with spiced pearl cous cous (served with a wedge of lemon), which was excellent despite its dull description.
I chose the calves liver with onion and mashed potatoes, which was a perfect comforting winter dish.
We decided to get a dessert to share. The crème caramel was hugely underwhelming with substandard taste, texture and presentation that “makes me feel like I’m being punished” – JP.
Our express lunch at Taxi was my favourite of the two. Taxi Dining Room is set in a beautifully light and airy room with glamorous city views.
Our meal began with warm bread rolls.
My starter of sticky pork with roasted sea scallop, hot chilli dressing and apple slaw was excellent.
My main of crispy Szechuan duck with pumpkin, daikon salad and blood orange was perfectly cooked and well balanced.
The other main of roasted barramundi fillet with soft shell crab with sriracha mayonnaise was reportedly also delicious.
We finished with a good hit of caffeine to negate the effects of the wine.