Six months ago I moved to St Kilda or as my girl hastens to point out, St Kilda West, because there is nothing in St Kilda, and St Kilda West is full of the good stuff.
St Kilda West has Luxembourg, Di Stasio, Baker di Chiroco, Fitzrovia.
There is nothing on acland street. Or so I thought until we decided to check out a long held favourite of the St Kilda locals. Cicciolina.
I had heard good things about Cicciolina. It was a favourite of those in the know, but flew largely under the radar for the most part, over shadowed by its Fitzroy street cousins.
The first time we went as a group of four. There were drinks had, sure. Then a few more in the back room with some golden calamari and crisp Arancini balls. Service was Italian and non plussed. So long as you had your name down for a table, it all goes on the tab.
Which would explain why the rest of the night was a blur, I think I had the ragu, and I think it was good, but let’s jump to the second visit just in case.
Earlier arrival time on this occasion and immediately seated at a table for three.we have foregone the oysters this time for the tuna carpaccio, laced with bursting citrus. The perfect palette cleanser. One wonders why it does not appear on more menus.
Our first visit centred around pasta dishes, which, had we not consumed vast quantities of Nebbiolo would be recalled as rich and satisfyingly hearty. On this occasion however, we opted for the barramundi, crispy skinned and juicy of meat. My girl had the lobster ravioli extra as a main. A generous square of fresh pasta filled with sweet meat. So generous in fact, it got passed around the table. And finally, her sister, with potentially the meal of the night, the roast spatchcock.
Cicciolinas is the authentic Italian you have been searching for. No fuss, not fancy, but once you walk into within that darkened room from the inconspicuous alley, survey the interiors with the over sized blackboard menu, with the curtains drawn, and the lights dimmed, you really are in a piece of Italy.
It just happens to be on Acland street, where there’s nothing good.