For dinner on my final night in Melbourne I headed out to the suburb of Northcote to catch up with some old colleagues at the Sicilian restaurant of Café Bedda. The restaurant was packed with regulars so it was a good job we'd booked a table.
My colleagues took delight in grilling me about my (non existent) love life and watching me squirm as my sister listened in to my answers. I was thankful when the waiter arrived to take our order!
We ordered a selection of starters to share. The zuchini fritters were coated in breadcrumbs and fried. They were well seasoned and had a great crunch.
Our plate of fried prawns that you eat whole (shell, head an all) was salty and crunch. I preferred to eat them on their own, rather than with the lemony mayonaise that they were served with.
The Salsicce we lovely small, rich, fennel sausages. They had a strong and gutsy flavour and could be fantastic in a pasta sauce. We also ordered the Badduzze di Melanzane (aubergine fritters in a sugo sauce) and warmed olives in garlic, but my dining companions were a bit too quick to get stuck in before I could take photos.
All of the starters were traditional Sicilian dishes and very enjoyable.
The Maccheroni Della Nonna is created from pasta handmade by the owners grandmother with eggs that my ex-colleague Kate sells to the restaurant from her small holding. How could I nor order it? I've no idea how nonna makes the long thin tubes of pasta. For me the ragu could have been a bit richer with more depth of flavour.
Ruth ordered the Conchigle con Carciofi an artichoke, egg, pecorino and parsley pasta. It came attractively served in an earthenware bowl.
For dessert I ordered the Cassata Siciliana, a Sicilian ice cream cake with layers of chocolate, amaretto & maraschino cherries. The boozy ice cream was a popular choice at the table.
It was a fun evening catching up with friends. It was good, not just Italian, but traditionally Sicilian food. For me the five different starters that we ordered were the highlights of the evening.
Full disclosure: Café Bedda is owned and run by a former colleague and her husband. I paid for dinner, she doesn't know I blog and she didn't ask me to write a review.
242 High Street