Mister Bianco is the kind of restaurant you want to have as a local. And for Kew residents, the restaurant is a friend they have held close to their hearts since opening a few years ago. Kew High Street may not be as hip as other foodie strips, but Mister Bianco definitely bats above its average when it comes to Sicilian restaurants in Melbourne.
This week, I was lucky enough to be invited to an intimate blogger dinner at Mister Bianco Kew to sample some of the new and classic dishes on their menu.
Mister Bianco is sleek and sexy, but in an understated way. With the illumination of lamps the dining room is effortlessly stylish, comprised of simple wooden tables dressed with crisp linen table cloths. There’s also a private dining room upstairs which is perfect for dinner parties and celebrations.
The restaurant is the brainchild of veteran chef and restaurateur Joseph Vargetto (ex Mezzo) who has filled the place with European warmth and charm, paying homage to his Sicilian heritage.
In typical Sicilian fashion, the table was set for convivial dining for our foodie friends, new and old. Upon entering, the sweet aroma of freshly cooked pasta fills the room, and I am immediately hungry.
The ever-changing seasonal menu is inspired by Varghetto’s heritage, a clever blend of new and old. It is Sicilian comfort food at its best, but with a modern twist. Produce is sourced locally from around Victoria, while wines come from both local and international vineyards and wine merchants.There’s a great mix of small plates to share (Stuzzichini), traditional southern Italian recipes, locally sourced seafood and meats.
We started with some delicious stuzzichini courses including arancino “vero siciliano”, burrata mozzarella and tuna “zingara”.
Served in a “moneybag” style the burrata was super creamy and indulgent, its outer skin holding its integrity beautifully despite its soft, buttery filling within. Pesto trapanese and candied prosciutto were the perfect accomplices to cut through the richness of the burrata.
A Sicilian classic is the arancino “vero siciliano” – crispy golden balls filled with oozy mozzarella, rice and tomato. With a small dollop of roasted garlic aioli, this is comfort food at its best.
Another highlight is the tuna “tingara” which is nicely seared with a nice rosy centre. It’s a clever dish, well balanced with a refreshing cucumber gazpacho and a creamy avocado mousse.
No Sicilian menu is complete without a pasta dish. The ravioli was filled with scallop, prawns and a hint of black truffle. But the biggest winner of this dish for me is the beurre fondue. I had to jump in with a spoon to demolish every last bit.
A duck breast was beautifully finished with a quince puree, grilled green asparagus and black pepper sauce. With a rosy pink centre, the duck was beautifully cooked and a pleasure to eat, especially with the punch of the quince and heat of the pepper which demanded my tastebuds for attention.
Equally pleasing was the black angus porterhouse, cooked medium rare and served with sicilian caponata and salmoriglio. Unfortunately the flavours of the salmoriglio were drowned out a little by the caponata, but it was still a great dish.
We couldn’t have ended on a sweeter note with the cannoli. I now refer to them as the cannoli which changed my life! The buttery pastry shell is filled with a delicious sweet ricotta filling, studded with chocolate chunks to add more texture. Need i say more? I am speechless.
Mister Bianco is the place to come to transport your tastebuds to Sicily. I will be coming back, if only for the cannoli!
For more tips about where to eat in Kew – check out my Kew Food Guide.
Mister Bianco Kew
A 285 High Street Kew
T (03) 9853 6929
I was invited as a guest of Mister Bianco Kew. All views are honest and my own.