I’ll admit it now, we were a bit disorganised when it came to planning our meals for the weekend, I had only really sussed out brunch options and afternoon cake areas. We probably should have planned our dinners more wisely. After Mr. Hive was completely booked out (we almost got a reservation for 7 people at 9:30pm but even then I would have been starving by that time), we started searching for alternatives. Dumpling restaurants, Spanish tapas, Mexican and even Mrs. Parmas couldn’t fit in 7 people or not without being seated ridiculously late. After my fifth call (my other friends were calling around too), I started to loose hope, even if a restaurant was able to seat 7 at a decent hour without being booked out on a Saturday night, what’s that say about the restaurant that we were left with?
I searched for restaurants on Lygon street, I had never really been impressed with that area before but these were desperate times. I had seen on Urbanspoon that Svago Ristorante rated rather quite highly with recent raving reviews from patrons. I dialled the number and asked if they had an opening for 7 people around 7:30pm with a hopeful tone. They said that was not a problem and looked forward to seeing us. I breathed a sigh of relief, finally we got in somewhere! Hmmm but that only left us girls 45 minutes to all get ready and be there… Better start getting changed!
We were taking someone down Lygon street for the first time, I told them to count how many people ask them to come into their restaurant to eat while we walked one and a half blocks. After being pestered by many Italian men all rugged up braving the outside weather, we finally find Svago Ristorante in a quaint quiet, romantically lit restaurant with no spruiker out the front to wave us in.
I love their Robert Welch cutlery set!
Complimentary bread and olives – delicious warm bread served with fabulous olive oil and balsamic and a great selection of warm olives.
Pear gnocchi homemade potato gnocchi with Taleggio cheese, pear and roasted walnuts ($23.00). The softest parcels of gnocchi with a fabulous cheese sauce balanced by the walnuts and sweetness of pear. The only complaint would been that they could have used a few more walnuts in the dish. One of the best gnocchi I’ve ever eaten!
Spaghetti del mar homemade spaghetti with fresh seafood in a salsa verde sauce ($25.00). Perfectly cooked pasta with a good mix of seafood, although one of my mussels did taste like it just came out from the sea. I think this dish could have done with some chilli though. I asked for some parmesan cheese and they gave me a delicious freshly ‘microplane’d cheese, no powdered stuff here.
Loin of lamb lamb backstrap served with braised sprouted legumes, pea puree and juniper berries jus ($31.00) served medium rare. My friend absolutely loved her lamb.
Aged fillet steak of beef char-grilled eye fillet, served with horseradish potato puree, roasted shallots and red wine jus ($34.00). The boys promptly finished their steaks which were very tender and well cooked.
We weren’t going to stay for dessert. Half of us wanted to eat somewhere else to get a bit of variety and then the other half wanted to stay because the experience so far had been so wonderful. Two of us were just going to share a tiramisu but when we ordered, everyone else happen to sneak in an order as well.
Individually baked banana cake caramel sauce and ice cream ($12.00). Made to order, these cakes were steaming hot and perfectly accompanied by ice cream and caramel sauce.
Dutch chocolate mousse with liquid chocolate Galliano centre ($14.00). A very rich mousse with a smooth shot of Galliano to warm the heart and stomach as you took a bite.
Tiramisu our way your own way… DIY ($13.00). We were really curious about what the description meant, the waiter kindly offered to show us how to assemble the dessert- stack the lady fingers, pour the espresso all over, smother with mascarpone cheese and top with a bit of Frangelico, rinse and repeat.
We probably didn’t leave the sponge fingers in enough espresso as some were still hard as we dug our spoon through. The strong espresso hits the palette soften by the taste of mascarpone then finished with a delicate after taste of frangelico. This dessert is more for novelty but I think a good consistent dessert needs to be left to the kitchen.
I have eaten in many restaurants down Lygon street and I never understood what the fuss was about, for me it was always mediocre food, powdered parmesan cheese and spruikers. Svago is the best place I have eaten at here with top notch pastas and secondi options.
We were thrilled with the service and the food. I’m still astounded that this little gem on such a busy street wasn’t filled with more patrons but that was fine by us as we got to chat and laugh and not compete with other table noise.
Venue: Svago Ristorante
Address: 118 Lygon St, Carlton, VIC 3053
Phone: (03) 9663 3536
Lunch : Mon – Fri 12:00pm ~ 3:00pm
Dinner : Mon – Sun 5:00pm ~ 11:00pm