A great place to entertain on Flinders Lane
Melbourne is a city full of the food-obsessed and it caters for all types: the humble burger reigns supreme yet you won’t be hard pressed to find a dish featuring unrecognizable (and unpronounceable) ingredients covered in a whipped foam that the chef will proudly pronounce as his or her dedication to molecular gastronomy.
With so much on the existing menu and so many new venues popping up all the time, it can be difficult to remain competitive. However, Tazio has an ace up its Armani sleeve: nestled smack-bang in the middle of the Melbourne CBD, on buzzing Flinders Lane, it has a geo-location to die for.
Just a stone’s throw from heavy-hitters such as Chin Chin, Lucy Lui and Coda, Tazio sits grandly in the dining epicentre of the city, and it certainly reaps the rewards in terms of patronage.
Arriving for an early Friday night sitting towards the end of summer, we weren’t really sure what to expect. Not having heard much previously of Tazio, though with high hopes due to it rhyming with my favourite local Italian, Fazio’s, it was a slight surprise to discover the sheer size of the venue, which houses numerous dining areas, perfect for groups of post-work boozers and the like.
We were given a tour at lightning speed – I was worried that our host’s laptop might end up facedown in a bowl of pasta, but he turned out to be encouragingly agile – during which we zipped up and down a number of flights of stairs, noting all sorts of comfortable nooks and crannies filled with groups of happily chattering guests.
Once settled at our table on the ground floor, we pored over the menu, which is a pleasant selection of Italian staples, such as authentic wood-fired pizzas and pasta, steaks and antipasto. A real point to focus on here is that they cater to everyone, with a range of options for vegetarians, coeliacs and the lactose intolerant.
We started off with a Guinness (it was St Patty’s Day and a pint was a steal at $8, so slauncher to that) and a glass of sparkling and then moved on to the vino. Any wine list such as Tazio’s that dangles the carafe carrot is molto bene to me as it allows more flexibility – why have just one wine when you can have four? NB, we didn’t have four carafes.
We then smashed through a tasty Carciofi pizza (artichokes are always a winner on Italy’s crowning dish) and a bowl of their signature lamb ragu. The pappardelle was cooked very well, though we were aching for just a little more sauce. A side salad of rucola (that’s rocket and parmesan to all the Aussie Battlers out there) was much appreciated.
Having had our fill for the evening, we skipped dessert, but not before having a giggle at some hooligans chanting unsavoury things in the bar. This is to be expected on an Irish holiday – and as previously mentioned this is a great spot for groups and revellers.
Our recommendation: Visit Tazio with a crew and take advantage of the cosy corners and great value nightly specials alongside a tantalising tipple of your choice that comes in small, medium or large (small and medium is for the weak). Though make sure to get in early as it fills as quick as the managers move, and these guys are fast!
By Sofie Batten
t: (03) 9654 9119
a: 66 Flinders lane, Melbourne VIC 3000