There’s a new Italian in town and it has attitude. Named after an infamous NYC Italian bangers, Pretty Boy Italian Steakhouse is the latest addition to the the Italian food scene and it does so with gusto. A restaurant inspired by the Italian food scene in New York, Pretty Boy is unashamedly all about good food enjoyed in stylish and hip interiors.
Executive chef, Michael Smith, former head chef of Tonka and Mamasita, has created a menu that will satisfy any need for Italian and more. It is not often I leave a restaurant with a strong desire to return immediately but I can’t quite express how much I enjoyed my meal there. Several dishes were memorably delectable and left a lasting impression that I have shared with anyone who will listen.
The menu features an array of Italian and Italian inspired dishes featuring the best in local produce. Chef Michael Smith’s love of Italian food is paired with local ingredients and produces flavoursome and balanced dishes, your traditional Italian dishes with a pretty boy twist.
On a busy Wednesday night (and that says something about this restaurant given it was mid-week) the open kitchen is a feverant centre where chefs are frenetically preparing dishes but taking the utmost care in ensuring the dish that lands on your table is perfect.
The dish that set my world on fire was the Wagyu ragu with papadelle. The melt in your mouth, silky ragu melded with al dente papadelle pasta was an absolute delight. The wagyu shin is cooked for 8 hours to produce a melt in your mouth sauce. Partnered with the perfectly cooked al dente papadelle (made in house) the silky luscious concoction of flavours is one that you wish never ended.
As a lover of pasta, I couldn’t go without mentioning the Gnocchi with mushrooms. The gnocchi, light and fluffy pillows of potato goodness, a recipe learnt on one of the chef’s travels to Italy – learnt through gestures and demonstrations from an Italian nonna is paired with a variety of mushrooms and finished with black truffle oil from Italy and shavings of Parmesan cheese.
If you’re look for something lighter, the starters is where you’ll find options that include a beautiful Hiramasa kingfish dish that combines fresh kingfish with salmon roe, riccola verde, pomelo and crispy Jerusalem artichokes, or Roasted Figs, paired with San Daniele prosciutto, ricotta salate and vino cotto. The San Daniele prosciutto cut straight from the giant leg on display in the kitchen is fresh and provides a saltiness balance to the sweetness of the figs. Proscuitto off cuts are baked and chopped finely and mixed with butter that is served with the house made focaccia at the start of the meal – make sure you try it.
Being a steakhouse, Pretty Boy does live up to deliver mouth watering, perfectly cooked steak. From a wagyu rump cap to a good t-bone, there is a desire for you to enjoy the natural flavours of the steak. Sauces complement the steaks rather than overpower and the grilling provides charring to give you that smokey flavour.
If after all you’ve had you want something sweet then my strong recommendation would be the delightful Tiramisu. A perfectly calibrated combination of coffee, Tia Maria cream, marscapone and Italian sponge. Delicate and light, it really is a treat to end the perfect meal.
It is the layering of flavours simply with fresh ingredients that makes Pretty Boy a standout and knowing how much care and attention is put in by Chef Michael Smith makes the experience even better.
Make sure you also try out Floyd’s Bar on the level above for some amazing cocktails and aperitifs. My top pick would have to be the Campania to Floyds featuring Floyd’s own Limoncello, vodka, lemon vanilla and basil leaves. Definitely one to try and could be one of my drinks of the Summer.
I left pretty boy feeling satiated and impressed. A lovely addition to the Melbourne dining scene.
Pretty Boy Italian Steakhouse – Level 1, 399 Little Lonsdale Street Melbourne
Visit www.prettyboy.com.au for more information and to book.