The Place: Va Bene pizzeria e pasta cucina
Address: Shed 9, Central Pier, 161 Harbour Esplanade, Docklands, Victoria
Cost: Share plates – $10 to $17, Pasta – $18 to $23, Pizzas – $17 to $22, Pizza by the slice – $8, Sides $10, Desserts – $10 to $17.
Hours: Monday to Friday 11.30am to late, Saturday 5pm to late
Rating: Match made in heaven – its a keeper! (5/5)
Picture a blustery cold day down at Melbourne’s Docklands precinct. Two tired ladies finished at 7pm and found themselves quite hungry and in need of a bit of ‘best mates catch up”. Braving the rain and wind, they made their way across the dock in the gathering darkness, to a warm and deliciously smelling restaurant – Va Bene. Instantly greeted on their arrival, their jackets and umbrella stored, they were shown to their table and given a menu, a wine list and a nice warm smile from the waiter. What a dream!
Upon our arrival, Debbie and I deliberated over a which glass of wine to have, then caved, and ordered a bottle to share (we’re such bad influences on each other) and as a starter we had an olive share plate. These olives are house marinated and were very fruity with the marinade full of garlic and herbs – lovely. Good to note also that all meals are accompanied by a rustic bread made in house, which we then used to mop up the tasty olive oil from the olives.
Funnily, Debbie and I ended up ordering for each other – meaning we ordered what we thought we wanted, tasted each others and then decided to swap!
- Trofie w napoli, basil, garlic, evo oil, fior di latte, Parmesan – this ended up mine, and boy was I happy about it. I’m a cheese maniac (if you read earlier blogs you’ll start to get that feeling) and this was a cheese maniacs dream. The tomato sauce was excellently complemented by the delicate yet creamy flavor provided by the Fior di Latte (a very young delicate home made version of Mozzarella). Not to mention this new found pasta shape – a real delight! (see top for picture)
- Tagliatelle matriciana w pancetta, garlic, olives, Spanish onion, tomato, parsley, fresh chilli (picture above)- Debbie was so chuffed with this pasta… after each mouthful there was a compliment. And I have to agree with her, it was delicious! (The only reason I gave it up was for the promise of cheeeeeeeeese in the Trofie.)
When your pasta is delivered you get a choice of adding fresh cracked pepper and/or freshly grated Parmesan cheese – we of course partook in both!
Feeling happily full, when the our waiter asked if we’d like the dessert menu we said, although reluctantly, “No thanks”… but then he remarked, “Oh, that’s a shame, the chocolate mousse here is the best I’ve ever had…”. Cheeky monkey. >:)
So naturally, Debbie and I threw ourselves on the “food sword” and shared a chocolate mousse… and my word, it was almost obscene it was so good. Chocoholics of the world, get your butts here!
And everything else?
Va Bene is so warm, welcoming and tasty, it would take a flood to stop me going back!! There is an open kitchen for a birds eye view of the chefs in action, and the layout of the restaurant is welcoming and personal, even with the large share-style tables. Va Bene is one of those places that is great for friends to catch up and couples for that all important date night. As a side, I held a work function here after this meal and it was VERY impressive, so its great for functions too. I love it, I love it, I love it.
So how do you explain a match made in heaven? It’s something that comes along when you’re not really expecting it – saying all the right words, doing all the right things. Before you know it you’re in love and excited to be so. I’m excited by Va Bene – go there, go there now!