For someone who is based in Milton for work, it’s odd that I’ve not sampled the myriad of local dining options and watering holes around the Paddington and Caxton St Entertainment precincts. I’m not sure what it is, but I rarely venture to that area for a meal, however following my lovely dining experience at Vio’s recently, I think things are about to change…
MM and I took a seat for dinner at Vio’s on a quiet Sunday evening. As one of only one of three or four tables seated for the evening in the fairly large dining area, the ambience was a little cool, however strategic mood lighting gave it a romantic edge and with a room full of patrons I suspect the surroundings would’ve made for a warmer, more cozy experience.
We were greeted pleasantly by attentive and friendly Italian staff who were well acquainted with the new menu and very handy when it came to choosing from the extensive Italian wine list (there are some amazing options, including the Greco di Tufo).
The antipasti menu has some impressive options however MM and I couldn’t go past the cured ocean trout with baby beets, horseradish and lemon oil ($18). Vio’s cure the trout in sugar, salt and beetroot for 24 to 36 hours to the point where it is so silken and delicate it practically melts on your tongue.
For Primi we shared the beef cheek ragu (garganelli) with penne and fresh aged parmesan ($25) as well as the house made gnocchi with Moreton bay bugs ($25). The penne was the pick – the ragu not too heavy, with delicious tendrils of beef cheek amidst smatterings of aged parmesan which gave the dish an amazing lift.
The bug meat was sweet and cooked to perfection however the gnocchi and its accompanying jus was a little rich for my taste and over powered the delicate seafood component of the dish.
For Secondi, MM decided on the pesce del giorno (fish of the day) which on this occasion was King fish, atop a bed of asparagus and peas in a vegetable stock. The fish was quite thick however fell away perfectly and the broth was light and fresh which balanced really well with the spring vegies.
I decided on the duck breast with puree chest nuts, mushrooms and a chest nut glaze. The duck meat was cooked beautifully, although it was a little salty, and the rich chest nut glaze completed the meal nicely. A little on the heavy side once again for my taste, but overall really well balanced and perfect for what was a cool, sultry evening outside.
Full to the brim, our rubber arms were twisted for dessert, and as the Tiramisu ($15) came highly recommended by our waiter we gave it the nod. The dish that arrived to the table looked more like a lounge room centrepiece – a lovely ceramic pot with some greenery and rich soil – low and behold it was our tiramisu moonlighting as a flower pot garden setting.
The chocolate biscuit crumbs were terribly (read: divinely) rich, which the fresh cream with a coffee edge cut through perfectly to balance out the flavours – it’s quite hard to articulate just how good it was, so it’s fair to say it’s probably the best tiramisu I’ve tasted in a long time.
Although the white linen, service and price tag would suggest Vio’s is a fine dining restaurant, you can’t help but feel this is the kind of place you could bring the extended family and have an 80’s style raucous lunch wherby you can splash the red and the spaghetti sauce around. At Vio’s they sauce fresh, local produce and whilst there is certainly no shortage of fanciness in their meals (in taste and how they’re presented), you can tell there’s a good deal of old school, home-style made-with-love Italian cooking basics at play here.
Thanks to the team at Vio’s for inviting us to be their guests on this occasion.
- Vio’s Italian Ristorante – 157 Given Tce, Paddington. +61 7 3367 1886