I think I now understand what all the fuss is about!
I'd been hearing about Grossi Florentino and chef Guy Grossi for years. He and his resturaunt are a Melbourne institution. For some reason I'd always balked at spending more than the bare minimum on Italian food and shunned eating pasta at resturaunts. But it turns out, that like most things in life, you really do get what you pay for.
I was net surfing for lunchtime inspiration and seeking a jaunt outside the office when stumbled on the Grossi Florentino website. I hadn't intended to visit, but then an item on the menu really caught my eye - Pumpkin Tortellini with Fried Sage or Tortellini di Zucca Della Lungiana $18 as it is named on the menu.
Ever since our Solomon Island adventures, I've been a great fan of the tadka or chaunk technique of frying herbs and spices to add flavouring to a dish. This Indian method of cooking involves tipping the lightly fried and very fragrant herbs into a dahl or curry at the end of cooking to create an exciting fizzling flavour punch. I'm not sure how Guy does it with the sage over tortellini, but I wouldn't be surprised if his technique is much the same.
Anyway. The result is what matters and here it is superb.
The delicate flavours of pumpkin-filled tortellini were perfectly matched by the sage fried in olive oil. I also now understand the true meaning of 'al dente' too. The pasta had a delightful texture and even though it sounds cliche, it really did melt in my mouth. The meal comes with complementary herbed and seasoned bread and olive oil which is delicious.
As you'd expect in a place of this calibre, the waiters are fantastic. Friendly, attentive and unobtrusive. And your glass of water is never empty.
How wrong I was.