As July draws to a close so does my quest for marvellous mushroom meals, but I knew I still had time to squeeze in one more fabulous fungal feed before Mushroom Mania month is over for this year.
This week my travels took me to Unley Road and to a restaurant whose existence I was completely unaware of. Vino Ristorante came as something of a surprise to me, as I had lived in that area for quite a few years before moving up the hill and thought I was pretty familiar with all of the local Unley food palaces. Serving seasonal, traditional Italian food with a focus on Sicilian cuisine,Vino Ristorante has been sitting right under my nose since 2001, but has clearly not escaped everyone’s attention, gaining a reputation for old fashioned Italian home-cooking using fresh, local ingredients and a guernsey as a finalist in the 2011 South Australian Restaurant and Catering Awards for Excellence.
A friendly and comfortable trattoria, decorated with photos, posters and chianti bottles, Vino seems to be not so much joining in with the mushroom theme for July, as utterly embracing it, with a menu that boasts mushrooms in a large proportion of the dishes, plus several extras on the daily specials board. My friend Jane, who had also failed to ever notice this restaurant, and I sat down to lunch today and found ourselves thoroughly spoiled for choice as we tried settle on which particular ‘shroomy treats we wanted to indulge in.
I opted for a mushroom entree called Mushrooms al Formaggio and was not to be disappointed. One of the worlds largest Swiss Brown mushrooms appeared on a plate in front of me, piping hot, covered in golden, gooey, melting pecorino cheese and perched atop a roasted capsicum salad. The earthiness of the mushroom and the richness of the cheese was perfectly balanced by the sweetness of the roasted capsicums (although I would have preferred them to have had the skin removed) and the fresh, pepperiness of the accompanying rocket – a delicious starter, but mammoth in size and just a bit more than I could manage to finish. Jane’s entree dish of smoked salmon, avocado, rocket and mascarpone was no less generous and pronounced to be profoundly satisfying, too, with a dressing which had her twitching her nose and smacking her lips as she tried to identify it.
Giving due consideration to my limited capacity for large meals in the middle of the day, I selected an entree-sized serve of todays special pasta dish, spaghetti with mushrooms, fresh tomato, garlic, rocket and lemon for my main course. This, too, came with another enormous grilled mushroom cap on the top and loads of chopped button mushrooms mixed through the pasta, all of it generously dressed with a deliciously fresh lemony, garlicky, olive oil coating – again, a very successful combination of flavours.
Feeling more ambitious than me, Jane bravely tackled a full-sized main course of Pollo alla Marsala and was rewarded with a truly tempting dish. The grilled free-range chicken breast was served with a mushroom-loaded, lightly creamy, marsala based sauce and fresh vegetables. I did manage to sneak a mouthful or two past her, but Jane was in serious raptures over this dish and did her best to polish it off, while muttering about getting her husband to bring her back so that she could eat it again.
While Jane and I must wander about our locales in some sort of a misty daze, many others clearly don’t and Vino Ristorante was doing a brisk and efficient lunch trade. They are open for lunch on Thursdays and Fridays, although parking during business hours around there can be a little tricky, and for dinner from Wednesday to Saturday.
Prices – $$
46 Unley Road, Unley
08 8272 1277
Lambs’ Ears and Honey ( and Jane) dined with the compliments of Mushroom Growers Australia as part of Mushroom Mania month.