The setting is all Melbourne: a subway-tiled room in an inner-city alley. The food and wine, on the other hand, is Emilia-Romagna down to the last drop of 25-year-old aceto balsamico tradizionale di Modena, served in 10ml tastes. Authenticity, not innovation, is the reason Emilia is packed most nights with cheerful punters downing generous pours of nebbiolo, trebbiano and lambrusco. The best dishes are the most traditional: gnocco fritto with salumi; tripe braised with tomato and cannellini beans; tagliatelle (all the pasta is made by hand) with pork and beef ragù. But that's not to cast doubt on the rest. Pan-fried king dory alongside a zucchini flower filled with fish mousse, for instance. And while spaghetti with vongole and bottarga is by no means northern, it's a standout. Desserts are from the guts-and-glory school: semifreddo Mediterraneo, for instance, loaded up with cedro and praline, dolloped out and piled with peach sauce. Italian waitstaff keep the fun rolling.
Sign up to receive the latest food, travel and dining news direct from Gourmet Traveller headquarters.×