Friday, October 19, 2012

Tasty treats at Tiamo!

Tiamo (03) 9347 5759
Tiamo2 (03) 9347 0911
Italian, Pizza, Mediterranean
303-307 Lygon St, Carlton

A colleague and I recently lunched here on the recommendation of some of my students.

It is a little confusing in that there are two Tiamo restaurants, side by side, and depending on which menu you order from (you can order from either) the food will come from one kitchen or another. The menus offer mainly pasta, substantial main courses and pizza. We decided to order from the original Tiamo menu (Black) rather than the Tiamo2 menu (Red). As I cook a pretty mean Pasta Carbonara myself, I always like to try it in Italian restaurants to compare it to mine. As it turned out, my colleague also likes Carbonara, so he chose fettucini whilst I chose penne as the pasta base. Water was provided at the table as well as some fresh sliced and buttered bread. A pepper grinder was supplied on request.

Both pasta dishes were supplied reasonably promptly and were attractively presented in white bowls with flecks of parsley through the dish and a sprig of parsley and freshly grated parmesan cheese on top. Both the bacon and the egg were nicely cooked but not overly so, and still retained their moisture and freshness. There was a generous quantity of both, and the saltiness of the bacon well complemented the sweetness of the egg and the overall flavour was very moreish. The only criticism that I would have is that there was a bit too much cooking oil for my taste, with a pool left in the bottom of the dish as the other ingredients were consumed. However, other than aesthetically, this did not overly detract from the success of the dish. This problem was less apparent in my colleague's serving.

We both ordered a coffee - my colleague a flat white and a cappucino for myself. These were served in smallish white cups and were visually attractive, with caramel and cream-coloured swirls on top. Perhaps a little less than desirable in temperature, but my colleague downed his quickly without complaint and I enjoyed mine. It was a rich, creamy and smooth blend with no hint of bitterness and a subtle aftertaste; as such a cup of coffee that would suit most tastes.

The restaurant was a little noisy and very busy, but not overly so, and despite the fact that we were sitting not too far from the pizza ovens the ambient temperature was well-controlled. The wait-staff were attentive and helpful. I did book in advance, but gathered from the staff that this was normally not strictly necessary. There was certainly a constant stream of patrons entering both restaurants and there is also a reasonably large outdoor eating area on Lygon Street in front of both restaurants. I was waiting outside for my colleague for quite a while and I am pleased to say that although restaurant staff coming in and out and going between restaurants and looking after the outdoor area noticed I was there, I was not approached or hustled at all.

Verdict: Recommended.
This restaurant receives the Seal of Approval!

Tiamo on Urbanspoon

Tiamo 2 on Urbanspoon

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