Cucina de Esposito

Rebirth and Rebranded : Cucina de Esposito

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Italian Cuisine, Melbourne's Inner City, Seafood

Formerly known as Esposito at Toofey’s, this corner restaurant located in Carlton was rebranded as Cucina de Esposito. It’s owned by chef Maurice Esposito (also the owner and chef at CBD restaurant, St Peter’s) whose career spans over 20 years across continents and has worked with famed names in the kitchen.

Esposito

We came with a 3 course plus sparkling wine promotion valued at $186 for two.  Prior to my visit, I have seen mixed reviews about Esposito in urbanspoon, so I came here with an open mind.  We were 15 mins late due to the difficulty of finding a parking.

The restaurant was small and cosy, well-lit with a huge chandelier above the dining room – perfect for a romantic evening. At the end of the dining room, a narrow staircase lead up towards a private dining area.

We started with two entrees – Roasted pork belly, though a little overcooked, the flavours were well blended and Calamari was seasoned nicely with good enough crunch.

Roasted pork belly with caponata and a raisin pureeRoasted pork belly with caponata and a raisin puree

Calamari dusted in semolina with shaved fennel, orange and a saffron mayonnaiseCalamari dusted in semolina with shaved fennel, orange and a saffron mayonnaise

Having tasted the delicious entrees, we were very eager for mains.  The Confit of ocean trout was well cooked and tender with a distinctive rosy pink/orange inside.  It also left me with a flavour that is worth celebrating.  On the other hand, hubby had Braised veal shank that was breaking from bones.  The only complaint that I have about the mains was the small portion size.

Confit of ocean trout with a warm potato salad and a smoked trout sauce Confit of ocean trout with warm potato salad and smoked trout sauce

Braised veal shank, soft polenta, parmesan and gremolataBraised veal shank, soft polenta, parmesan and gremolata

We shared desserts – White and dark chocolate parfait and Pear and honey tart.  Both were delicious.  The parfait was silky smooth and chilled.  Love that melding of flavours between the white and dark chocolate while the orange peel gave some slight tangy taste.  The tart on the other hand, was baked to brown and not too sweet.  However, I find the density of the tart pretty heavy but my hubby likes it.

White and chocolate parfaitWhite and dark chocolate parfait with candy orange peel

Warm pear and honey tart with yoghurt sorbetWarm pear and honey tart with yoghurt sorbet

Verdict : Overall, Esposito served pretty decent food in terms of flavour and taste.  But for the value of the meal, I was not very excited about the portion of the mains.  Will I return? Well, if the serving size is improved, I might give it another go.

Burp! Checklist
To die for : Confit ocean trout, White and dark chocolate parfait with candy orange peel
Price : $$$
Yummy Factor : +3
Noise Level : Low

[Cucina de Esposito]
162 Elgin St, Carlton, Victoria
P: 03 9347 9838
Mon-Sat: Dinner

You may also like : Sapore

Esposito at Toofey's on Urbanspoon

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