Connie’s Italian Dinner Review Melbourne Review 2022

234B Russell St.
Melbourne,
VIC
3000

See map

Early hours Dinner Wednesday – Saturday
Features Accepts bookings, licensed, family friendly, groups
Prices Moderate (Mains $ 20- $ 40)
The phone 03 8413 2970

Regarding Italian food, my opinion is strong. And if there’s one thing I’d like to hear from Melbourne’s rooftops, it would be: We have our own Italian culture! Stop copying American-Italian food, ignoring the greatness of creating our own history, which is itself a side effect of immigration.

Why do we want to be someone other than ourselves? If I am going to forgive this trend, however, it will be in the company of Michael and Zara Madrosan, the owners of the Made in the Shed group.

The heartbreaker, which he opened down on the site in 2015, has always been intended to evoke the distinctive magic of an American dive bar, something that is truly unprecedented in Australian history.

Grandma’s Pie is a thick crusted, rectangular pizza that Italian-American grandmothers will make at home. Photo: Chloe Dan

(Why should it be when we can imagine all kinds of pubs?) Connie, named after Michael’s grandmother, was originally the name of a heart-broken pizza window. That pizza was aptly based on an American slice joint and became a legend overnight.

So the reason is that, if the owners look to expand, they will stick with the Americana theme. Connie’s Italian dinner, which sits directly above the heartbreaker, serves to connect the New Jersey Red Sauce joint almost perfectly.

Red vinyl booths, dim lights with glittering disco balls, 80s reminiscence posters – even the headlights on the lights above the booths are charmingly authentic.

Veal Tonato is a satisfying classic, soft meat in a smooth tuna sauce that is interrupted by crispy capers.

Veal Tonato is a satisfying classic, soft meat in a smooth tuna sauce that is interrupted by crispy capers. Photo: Chloe Dan

The kitchen is providing a menu that is as flexible as it is entertaining. There are plenty of friendly snacks to drink, such as savory fritters, called zeppool, with anchovies ($ 8) or tangy red sauce with fried provolone ($ 11). Veal Tonato ($ 16) is a reassuring classic, soft meat in a smooth tuna sauce marked by crispy capers.

The pizza, which Connie launched as a takeaway option during the lockdown, has been described as “Grandma’s Pie”, which could be a sign for Connie herself or maybe New York and Next up is referring to the style of pizza known as Grandma’s Pie: a thick-crusted, rectangular pizza that Italian-American grandmothers will make at home.

I’ve also seen Connie’s pizza compared to Detroit-style offerings, but do we really care where the inspiration came from if the result is delicious? And here it is: cheese, crusty, chutney and, if you order Carney Pizza ($ 30), loaded with pepperoni, fennel sausage and prosciutto.

Spaghettini alle vongole is a bit expensive but pasta is absolutely el dente.

Spaghettini alle vongole is a bit expensive but pasta is absolutely el dente. Photo: Chloe Dan

spaghettini alle vongole ($ 35) is full of all the wine-soaked sea magic you hope for, pasta absolutely el dente. Does the dish look a bit expensive due to its simplicity and serving size? Probably. Instead I can go for the mussel and clam hot pot ($ 28), which has the same magic of white wine broth, with a side of sour bread to finish it off.

If there’s one thing I wasn’t expecting from Connie, it was too much of a restriction, but there are places in the menu where the presentation seems to come before the taste.

The best thing about the Chicken Alla Cactus ($ 26) is usually the speed of the effort, the tomatoes and the olives and the chicken create magic among themselves. Here, the chicken is served on top of the polenta square, and the sauce is served around it. I remembered the wonderful magic of the original.

tirami-sundae is tiramisu with vanilla soft cedar on top.

tirami-sundae is tiramisu with vanilla soft cedar on top. Photo: Chloe Dan

But, oh, the glory of a very stupid tirami-sundae ($ 16), a mashup I haven’t seen before, but I wish I could. It’s tiramisu with vanilla soft caramel on top, but it’s more than just a combination of its ingredients, the ice cream sweetens the dessert with a weird sense of childhood flavor.

The back room has a dance floor between the tables, and the atmosphere is 100% party time, even in the early evening. If you are looking for a quiet night, don’t come here: this is a place for loud gatherings.

In summer, there is no better place to spend a wild night than a rooftop deck. (This joint offers the French 75s, a cocktail made of gin, champagne and lemon juice, via pitcher for $ 85. Why hasn’t anyone thought of that before?)

Connie might be tempted to think about what happens when the heart breaker gets bigger, but there’s no need to worry – there’s no big deal here. Just lots of fun, lots of sauce, and a great time.

وائب New Jersey Italian Red Sauce Joint, Circa 1985

Go to the dish Meat pizza

Drinks Lots of emphasis on cocktails, but also with a short, entertaining wine list

This review was originally published. Congratulations to last week Magazine

https://www.connies.melbourne/

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