Cafe Di stasio – hooked on classics
The term institution gets bandied around a lot doesn’t it?
The prerequisites for the term is two-fold. One, and most obviously, longevity is required.
Two, and most importantly, quality must be maintained.
Make no mistakes about it, Cafe Di Stasio is a true institution.
I don’t know who else in Melbourne does old school Italian quite like Di Stasio, and let’s face it, there’s no shortage of old school Italians in Melbourne.
The service is patchy and a little slow and disinterested, but this only adds to the authenticity of the place. You really do feel like you’re in Milan!
The lighting is dim and romantic, which belies the crowd which can border on the corporate at times. On the night in question, I was with the girlfriend and my old man. Neither romantic, nor corporate, and let’s face it, probably not the best choice of venue, but here we were regardless.
It’s certainly on the expensive side (especially when compared to the neighbouring Italian – Il Porcetta. Gross!), so a good place to impress if that’s what you’re going for. I wasn’t, so I let the old man pay.
Let’s talk about food. We are in a Classic Italian restaurant, so let’s eat Classic Italian.
Beef carpaccio for primi piatti. Served with Parmesan shavings and rocket. I don’t quite understand what one can do to make carpaccio amazing, or at least more amazing than what it inherently is: raw meat. It’s a good thing I love raw meat. An adequate execution of what is generally an A1 dish.
Classic Italian dish number two. Spaghetti Bolognese. Well they called it ragu, but let’s call a spade a spade. They may try to make believe you’re in Milan, but we all know dirty Fitzroy Street is right outside.
Ain’t nothing dirty about this ragu however. Super rich, with hearty chunks of beef and pork. However, when ordering pasta from a place like this, it’s never about the sauce is it? Let’s get down to brass tacks. The pasta. My understanding of pasta is flour, water, egg, salt. Making those four ingredients taste as good as Di stasio does is akin to water into wine in my book.
The same could be said with the girls dish, tagliatelle with crab, chili and white wine. Another classic. Another perfect execution.
As much as one should explore new foods as much as possible, sometimes you just need to stick with the classics. Japanese know sushi, French know cheese, and the Italians, they seem to know a thing or two about pasta. Why bother with anything else, especially at this Italian institution.