|The dining room after the lunch rush: Gradi Crown Melbourne|
|The view of Cory Campbell without the helmet from Gradi|
When I finally found the restaurant's telephone number after many clicks, the receptionist was very perky and hospitable. I didn't have a high expectation of this place when I rang however the professionalism and the energy put me in the mood to enjoy a long and relaxed lunch. We were ultimately greeted and seated without much fanfare however we were quickly presented with not only the food menu but the wine list where the vast majority of the vintages languished under the $100 mark.
|The interior of Gradi Crown Melbourne|
|The award winning Margherita Verace pizza|
The highlight was the next course, the Tagiatelle al tartufo e pecorino sardo ($46) - narrow ribbons of pasta prepared with truffle butter, pecorino sardo and shaved black truffle. This was a dish that was magic and when matched with the 2011 Zuani, yet another DOC wine, which was a blend of nearly everything possible made for the best matched dish of the day. The subdued almond flavours of the wine really complemented the freckled truffle-heavy and intense flavours in the pasta. This dish left an impression and left me really wanting more days after enjoying it.
|Impepata di volgole - clams in a cool pot|
Service was polished throughout the 3.5 hour experience, which is a testament to the processes and procedures that this very young restaurant have already put into place which is a credit to the management. There is a view to the Southbank Promenade but I wouldn't recommend trying to jostle for position as the majority of the outlook is the walkway eclipsed by the offramp that runs over the restaurant. Off course there is a view of street art commissioned by Melbourne City Council that can be enjoyed in between courses. Like with other Crown restaurants, the visiting masses are seemingly tourist and transitory. Would I return? Sure, but on a quarterly basis at most or when I need to entertain a customer.
Crown Melbourne, 8 Whiteman Street, Southbank VIC 3006
My Rating: 13.75/20
Value For Money: 3.25/5
X-Factor Multiplier: 1
e-mail: epicureanofsouthbank (at) gmail (dot) com
When I posted this review, 44% of the reviewers on Urbanspoon like Gradi. Still, at the time there was a very limited review pool so it will be interesting to see how this changes over time.