232 Lygon Street
Carlton VIC 3053
+61 3 9663 2599
‘You know what we should do one night?’ asked Adam.
‘Walk down Lygon Street and actually walk into one of them Italian restaurants that are fronted by spruikers and actually have dinner there.’
‘Get stuffed, NO WAY!’
‘Nah seriously, I reckon the food wouldn’t be half-bad. Let’s try one!’
And so the following review is one reason why you should never take food-related advice from someone whose favourite thing to eat is a nuked frozen meat pie with tomato sauce.
From the long line of tacky ‘Italian’ restaurants on Lygon Street, we ended up choosing one that a decent amount of diners, Sale a Pepe. ‘Surely a restaurant that’s managed to get 60% of its seats filled with diners can’t be that bad?’ we thought. Unfortunately we did not take into consideration the possibility that said diners had bad taste. Like, REALLY bad taste.
The guy formerly known as my boyfriend and I started off with a small basket of herb bread (three slices for $4). It arrived at our table faster than a Valentino Rossi lap time. Pretty harmless stuff, we thought, and what could possibly go wrong? Well, the bread was as hard as chalk and the same thing could almost be said about the taste. The only herb they used was some chopped up flat-leaf parsley and a teeny weeny bit of thyme. No garlic was used to give it more flavour.
We thought our mains would be okay – I don’t know why though. Given that we were, after all, at a place that was not only tacky, from the cheap plastic-y décor to the slimy spruiker with the sweet words but greasy smile and given that this restaurant could not even get a simple herb bread right, I should have lowered my expectations. No, the photo above is not a plate of vomit – it’s a photo of my ‘fettucine prawns’ ($24.50). Yes, I’m aware that food photos taken on an iphone are normally of crappy quality and more often than not, make food look bad. I, however, doubt very much that an SLR could make this dish look pretty. Hell, I didn’t even use flash but look how slick and shiny the pasta is! The prawns (advertised as ‘fresh’ but weren’t) were tossed into an insipid ‘creamy sauce,’ essentially double cream with a bit of butter. There might have been a bit of salt in the mix, I don’t know. Random strands of spinach provided the iron requirement while the garlic that was advertised was nowhere to be found. It looked like a mess, it tasted like a mess, it WAS a mess. A big fat, f*cking FAIL.
Adam fared a little bit better with his main (but not by much). He ordered the spaghetti pescatora ($24.50), which was essentially a tomato-based marinara. If I had to say ONE good thing about this pasta, then it would be the fact that it had SOME taste (as opposed to none at all, above). Still, that isn’t saying much. The Napoli sauce was as boring as my constitutional law lecture notes; the negligible amount of chilli flakes and parsley did little to liven up festivities. And while I was glad to see a decent amount of seafood, the fact that they were nowhere near fresh just spoilt the dish for us.
We received 25% off the final bill thanks to an Entertainment Book voucher but I still felt ripped off. While the service was speedy, it wasn’t overly friendly and the food spoilt it for us anyway. I am never going back again and I’m never listening to a word Adam says with regards to food.