GT reader dinner: Valentino, Melbourne

Author: Maya Kerthyasa
Photography: Julian Kingma

Come and enjoy a southern Italian feast at Melbourne's Valentino, where the accent's authentic Calabrian.

Is Calabria home to Italy's hottest food?

In both senses of the notion, it's a big "si". Calabrian food can be spicy, but it's certainly having a moment. Its local champion is Melbourne chef Riccardo Momesso. and at his Toorak restaurant, Valentino, he crafts rustic, wholesome Italian cooking, closely linked to the seasons but reflective of its place in Australia.

"Momesso's family background is Calabrese," says GT's Melbourne editor Michael Harden, "and his restaurant reflects not just these Italian roots, but also the kind of food his mum used to cook when he was growing up on a farm in Broadmeadows, Victoria."

It's the kind of approachable, laid-back cooking we can't get enough of, so we've joined with Momesso and team to host a Calabrian-accented reader dinner to celebrate this Italian issue. Expect a southern Italian feast featuring filei pasta with a baccalà and borlotti sauce, Calabrian anchovy doughnuts, or zeppole, and braised goat with hot peppers and sautéed chicory.

So join us on 30 March for fantastic food, wine and Calabrian hospitality. There'll be matching vino, still and sparkling waters courtesy of our friends at Fine Dining Lovers and $10 from each ticket will be donated to the Ovarian Cancer Research Foundation, a most worthy cause. See you there, folks.

Join us for dinner at 6.45pm for 7pm on Monday 30 March at Valentino, 517 Malvern Rd, Hawksburn, Vic. The cost of $130 per person includes Sanpellegrino waters, wines by the glass and a $10 donation to the Ovarian Cancer Research Foundation. To book, call (03) 9826 8815. For more information on the OCRF, call 1300 OVARIAN or visit the OCRF website.

Valentino menu
* Anchovy zeppole
Spritz Calabrese (Cinzano Bianco, prosecco, San Pellegrino Mandarino)

* Wild hare polpetti in pistachio crumb
* Caponata with raisins and cocoa
* Maccu di fave with prawns and chilli
* Marinated sardines with zucchini, pine nuts and raisins
Peroni Nastro Azzurro 2013 Contini Nieddera Rosato, Sardinia

* Filei, ragù di baccalà e borlotti
2013 Virgona Salina Bianco, Sicily

* Braised goat with hot peppers and sautéed chicory
2012 Ippolito Liber Pater Cirò Rosso, Calabria

* Tartufo di Pizzo
2007 Ceratti Greco di Bianco Passito Black Label, Calabria

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