Ground floor, 80 Bourke St, Melbourne
We did make it to one restaurant that required a booking. I can't remember why I chose Grossi Florentino. Something along the lines of not wanting a really swish, fine dining venue but also not wanting upmarket Asian. The Grill seemed fitting and it was located conveniently in the city.
It was a bit confusing once we entered the door. I knew they had an upstairs restaurant and the Grill was supposed to be downstairs, but even so, as soon as you step in it's very crowded. I just headed towards the nearest door and stood there looking puzzled until a waiter kindly informed me I was in the right place and found us our table.
The restaurant isn't too big and it's very fast paced, but which I meant the waiters literally stomped past at high velocity.
We were given a couple of giant menus to look through and a basket of bread was flourished onto our table.
After a few moments, Byron informs me that he couldn't read the menu. Indeed, it is only about 40% English. We fumbled through it using the cartoons as a guide and ended up choosing the shared wagyu as a main. I felt painfully 'wrong' not ordering any starters so Byron allowed me to get a salad on the side.
We waited and chatted and munched on the bread. The bread was a standard sourdough type thing but the olive oil was amazing. If it's Guy Grossi's own I'm very impressed. It had a beautiful strong, fresh, 'green' flavor.
Grisini sticks and olive oil
There were also a couple of grisini sticks on the table and I had a few snaps.
Scamone di manzo “Wagyu” - Rangers Valley 400 day grain fed wagyu rump cap fat score 7+
When our wagyu arrived, I was a bit underwhelmed by the size. I guess it should have been expected because wagyu is always served in small portions, given it's fat content makes it highly filling. This was a 7 score and by the time I finished, I was definitely satisfied.
"The better to eat you with..."
It was Byron's first time having proper wagyu and though he's a harsh critic with food, he found it lived up to the hype. My favorite description he used was that it was like 'beef salmon' because of the rich, oily and melt-in-the-mouth texture.
I thought the meat was a bit too 'cool' on presentation but we decided that it was too technically impossible to have it 'hot' yet still med-rare. The meat was served with a bean puree and we were allowed to choose from a selection of condiments. I had a bit of dijon mustard with mine but really, the meat was beautiful on its own.
Insalata mista - mixed leaves, salted ricotta, Grossi extra virgin olive oil
You'd expect the salad to be a complete non-event after the beef but I was impressed by it. The leaves were fresh, crisp and bitter and provided a nice refreshing flavor after the heaviness of the meat. It also made me feel just a bit healthier.
While we were waiting for our food, I spied a few other tables getting souffle. I searched through the dessert menu and couldn't find it. The waiter told me it was from the restaurant upstair's menu but they could bring it down for us. I said 'yes please'.
Technically the souffle is from Grossi Florentino's fine dining restaurant but I ate it at the Grill so what the heck. It was something else that Byron had seen numerous times on shows like Masterchef but always suspected it was more fluff than actual goodness.
Valrhona chocolate soufflé - with malt ice cream and chocolate sauce
In the end, he liked it even more than I did! It was a plain chocolate souffle with ice-cream (the waiter told us to put the ice-cream in a hole in the center of the souffle) and chocolate sauce.
It was light, airy and all the things souffle should be. Byron really enjoyed it and commented that it was like under cooked self-saucing pudding (the kind we buy in packets from Woolies). I thought that was selling it a bit short but I could see where he was coming from.
Grossi Florentino Grill was great for us. We liked the food and the service was so pleasant and friendly. It was a lovely overall experience.