Osteria la Passione
Bringing something a little different to Melbourne diners, Italian-born Carmine Costantini's Osteria la Passione is very European in execution. There is no structured card menu, instead there is a daily degustation one built around what Costantini finds at the markets each morning, drawing on his experience in his homeland and his stints at Cafe e Cucina and Tea Rooms of Yarck.
The small 35-seat restaurant is set over two rooms. The decor is striking in its simplicity and the whole operation is built on passion. There are three or six course options of intricately prepared regional Italian foods, with an antipasti display in the dining room and dishes such as fritelle di Baccala (baccala fritters) and Capretto arrosto (roasted kid) brought out from the small kitchen. If you feel like more than six courses, simply ask, as each table dines exactly the way they want to and Constantini works with the customer to give them an individual experience, one the chef insists should not be taken in a hurry.