because I can't cook

Campari House in the Melbourne CBD

Address 23-25 Hardware Lane


Opening Times         

Mon-Fri   8am-late

Sat          9am-late

Sun         9am-2pm

Cuisine Italian, Modern Australian
Visited 14 February 2012

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Hungry? In the CBD? Not fussy? Looking to cozy up? Try Campari House.

Sure it isn’t the best restaurant out there but it’s very relaxed a la Hardware Lane, and their food is decent.

We were there for Campari House’s Italy Vs. Australia : Valentine’s Day Food & Wine Showdown. At $130pp and consisting of 5 courses and 8 (half-glass) wines, I think it was pretty well-valued.


On request, our seafood (oyster and scallop) courses were replaced by goat’s cheese arancini with herbs and tomato fondue, and zucchini flowers with goat’s cheese and iman bayildi. The accompanying wines for the arancini course were Tyrrells old winery brut NV Hunter Valley NSW and Zardetto Prosecco NV Veneto Italy, while the zucchini dish came with Nugan Estate Pinot Grigio 2010 King Valley VIC and Corte Giara Pinot Grigio 2010 Veneto Italy.

I personally loved the arancini balls (despite thinking they tasted more ‘junky’ than fine dining-ish, which was probably why I loved it ha) and the zucchini dish was not too bad, except the goat’s cheese was not nicely spread throughout the zucchini, so I got to eat chunks of goat’s cheese at times! Eek.

The next course was confit quail with wild mushroom and fig sauce served with Chapel hill Sangiovese 2009 McLaren SA and Peppoli Chianti 2007 Tuscany Italy. The moist quail and its sweet fig sauce was my favourite that night, though the portion was tiny I wish there was another piece of quail on the plate…

Another main served was veal involtini with white wine and tomato sauce, potato rosti, and cavelo nero, served with Bellna Ridge Barbera 2007 Swan District WA and Patrizi Barbera 2010 Piedmont Italy. I resented the cavelo nero, the veal went well with the tomato sauce but was a little dry, and saving the dish was the delicious (despite being a little soggy) potato rosti!

Dessert was unfortunately disappointing; with a name like raspberry truffle tart, I expected it to be sweet, and I mean sweet and fruity. And it was neither. It was quite bland for my dessert standard and its texture indicated it was kept for long in the fridge. Trying to make up for it was the Italian liqueur coffee with Amaretto that was served with the tart. It certainly was a good combination, but it was more coffee not dessert!

As for the wines, they were neither my favourites nor were they even slightly memorable. Especially the Tyrrells Hunter Valley NSW and Zardetto Prosecco Veneto Italy that accompanied the entrée - way too sparkly for my taste.

Campari House’s staff were quite friendly, and service was pretty quick. But then again everything was pretty much planned as it was sort of a ‘group’ event where they knew what we were ‘ordering’ and almost everybody was served the same thing, so by theory service could not have been slow. But anyway, no complaints here in the service area Smile

Overall, I thought for the variety and quantity, the value of the event was not poor, though the quality certainly could have been improved.

 Campari House on Urbanspoon

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