122-124 Peel Street, North Melbourne
I was so sure I had already posted about Maria’s Trattoria, but I guess I haven’t. Unfortunately we went awhile ago so my memory of it is extremely hazy. Sorry!
Maria’s Trattoria is right near our apartment. It’s not much to look at, but there always seem to be a few people dining there (mostly business lunches it seems). Based on that and some positive online reviews, I was pretty optimistic about the lunch.
Also, to the right of the photo is some sort of Magic The Gathering card shop. There are all these fantasy posters up, and sometimes I see guys sitting around the table playing MTG. Other times there is a big pile of discarded card wrappers on the table with nobody around. I like to imagine that they ripped their cards open in a frenzy, packaging flying everywhere, and then that was enough excitement for one day so they all took a nap.
But anyway, Maria’s Trattoria. We started with some garlic bread. Tasty, but nothing out of this world. It’s hard to mess up garlic bread.
We went for the menu option for two, where we could choose three kinds of pasta. I think it was in the high $30 or low $40 price range. From left to right:
- Some sort of bacony tomatoey pasta
- Some sort of creamy pasta. Maybe veal raviolli?
- Pumpkin Agnolotti (This one I remember because several online reviewers recommended it)
Extremely. Underwhelmed (by the food, not the vein. The vein is actually fairly impressive in real life).
They don’t do pizza, just pasta (also steaks and stuff like that I think). For a place that seems to specialise in pasta, I expected much more. If you’d told me the pasta came from a food court I would have believed you. The pumpkin agnolotti that reviewers loved was bland and dry, and the other pastas were pretty forgettable as well. That tomatoey one – it had chilli, bacon, tomatoes and parsley – I should have been punched in the mouth with flavour, and instead it was like pasta with a hint of watery tomato. How is it even possible to cook bacon so it has no flavour? It shouldn’t be possible! What did they do – boil it?
A lot of online reviews raved about the large potion sizes, but if we hadn’t eaten the garlic bread we could have polished off the pasta, and it’s not like we were particularly ravenous. Admittedly James and I are hungry hippos, but people were saying that even big eaters were felled by the mountain of pasta they were presented with. Pah! So while the portions were fairly generous, because the meal was so disappointing I didn’t really think we were getting amazing value. I don’t remember the exact prices for everything (and their adorably shit website was of little help), but with the garlic bread, pasta, and a glass of wine for James, I think it came to around $60 including tip (possibly a bit under, like $55).
Actually, for the price, that is about the amount of food I would expect, so I don’t even think you can count “fairly generous portions” in the column of positive things about the restaurant.