Despite the fact that this new Italian restaurant is technically across the border in the Melbourne suburb of Windsor, with its al foil industrial roof, hanging planter boxes and bulb lighting, Eat’aliano by Pino screams Prahran. Yet, there’s enough little nods to mother Italy, like the traditional Italian café chairs and Italian house music, to ensure that you won’t fool yourself into thinking you’re in a Chinese restaurant, trying to order Peking duck.
Tucked down the sedate High Street in a non-descript office-like building, and right across the road from The Block Glasshouse apartments, Eat’aliano by Pino is utterly worth venturing off the Chap for. Only opening at the start of the year, Eat’aliano by Pino has already stormed the south-east’s pizza and pasta scene, serving up some of the freshest, most authentic Italian south of Lygon Street.
I always think you have to be pretty bloody good at your game if you’re going to put your name up in lights (a.k.a. business lights). But Melbourne pizza maker and Italian maestro Pino Russo deserves this accolade, having earned his green, white and red stripes from Hampton’s Italian institution, La Svolta, which he co-owns. (On the other hand, Richard, from Chef Richard – the café across the road from Eat’aliano by Pino – please take note, and improve the brown liquid you call cappuccino).
Your usual Italian carte du jour
The menu isn’t hard to navigate with the usual pizza, pasta, antipasto, insalata and dolci suspects you’d expect from an Italian carte du jour. Also don’t forget to inspect the chalkboard specials (although I’m supremely confident that the super friendly wait staff will remind you of this required inspection if you do happen to forget) – the night I visited, the chalkboard was tempting us with a delicious-sounding Osso Bucco, served with saffron rice.
In a state of Natalie Imbruglia-style torn, Jude and I decided to share a few dishes, settling on the prosciutto and traditional grissini, fried calamari with chilli and basil, shoestring chips topped with cheese and truffle oil (a.k.a. pure happiness on a plate), and the sausage ragu rigatoni.
All four dishes were super fresh, authentic and delicious, and the perfect amount of food for two people – that’s if you don’t want to duck waddle out onto High Street.
Although spying the pizzas that were getting served up around us did bring on a bout of food envy. With an over-sized wood oven taking pride of place in the kitchen, it’s probably no surprise that the pizza menu is longer than Russell Brand’s hair. I learnt the hard way, the margarita pizza should not be ignored.
Eat’aliano by Pino is…
If you look at the number of Prahranites spilling out through the al fresco doors onto the High Street pavement any given night, it’s fair to say that Eat’aliano by Pino has been firmly embraced in the bosom of Prahran (or Windsor if you want to get all technical).
I definitely have a new favourite Italian go-to and the fact that they do take-away (delivery is courtesy of our favourite cycling friends Deliveroo and Foodora) makes my heart skip a beat. I know what I’m doing next Friday night! Onesie, couch and a big-bowl of steaming pappardelle.
Eat’aliano by Pino | 122 High Street, Windsor, Victoria
Phone: (03) 9077 4147