Food review

Week 2: Villa Romana


After taking a punt on a suburban Italian restaurant last week I came to the conclusion that this week will take me nowhere but Melbourne’s little Italy, Lygon Street. There are many Spag Bols to be had here, and I know that I will be visiting this street on a near weekly basis for the next year. So, where to start – which restaurant to pick first? A few weeks back I visited Lygon Street for a dose of research and inspiration. I asked the Brunetti staff where they go for their favourite – many answered with places I’d already heard of, and then a barista mentioned Villa Romana. I was curious. Villa Romana it was.

Was their Spaghetti Bolognese any good? Did it live up to the Lygon Street reputation? Hell yes. As soon as the bowl hit the table I had a feeling I was in for a treat. It looked just right.

The sauce was stirred through the Spaghetti with a dollop on top – this Bolognese is winning already. Literally. The presence of finely chopped parsley as a garnish added vibrancy to the dish.

The pasta was perfectly al dente and the sauce was yummm. It was rich and developed. I loved the thickness and texture – there were no big chewy chunks, rather tender little clumps which incorporated beautifully into the sauce, and literally melted away on my tongue. There was a sweet note to the sauce which resonated very well with me. There was a good balance between meat and tomato flavours, and I could tell this sauce was made with lots of love.

There were a few down points. The first was seasoning – salt, none lacking but there could have been more pepper. Another negative was the subtle meaty after taste which lingered.

Further wins were the portion size, and pasta-to-sauce ratio which was pretty spot-on. I also appreciated the little bowls of finely grated parmesan and chili oil placed to the side.

Price: $18
Score: 16+

Note: dishes which score 16+ are contenders for the title of Melbourne’s best Spaghetti Bolognese. All scores above 16 will be disclosed at the end of the year long taste testing.

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