The Scoop: Ladies Lunch at Ristorante Tartufo & Wine Bar

For a visual descent into the luscious details of lunch, check the gallery of exquisiteness here

For some, Ladies Who Lunch could be seen as a frivolous and fanciful pastime. But for all those who deny they participate in such diversions, there are still many who do; rhapsodising on the latest fashion trend and gossip, basking in the company of compatible social lionesses. 

And as with every ladylike luncheon, there certainly remain a few musts
* the best in fashion adorning the body
* an exquisite environment to lunch within
* charming service from attractive attentive staff and 
* a tribute to fine cuisine that is likewise light on the figure and best accompanied by glass(es) of champagne, delightfully. 

And from the heart of The Emporium Precinct, Ristorante Tartufo & Wine Bar fulfils every agreeable obligation. Gorgeous service, care of genuinely charming staff and an elegant backdrop that is minimally European and definitely Italian – warm with dark woods, light tiles and red adornments – meant this was delicious in many ways; certainly, as a refreshingly light menu accompanying juicy tête-à-tête. 

Delicate dishes of classic Italian cuisine commence with Pane Casereccio of house-made bread served with organic extra virgin olive oil and balsamic. The bread soaked up the languid rich balsamic and olive oil, aromatic to the palate.  

The Insalata Caprese of fresh sliced tomatoes with bocconcini, basil and extra virgin olive oil and pepper was simultaneously refreshing and salivating upon the palate. The fresh ingredients were bursting with flavour. Fresh tomatoes, bocconcini and basil are always the best of friends; indeed the dish served as a polite acknowledgement to this event. They seemed to prepare the tastebuds for the next act of this grand theatrical production. 

The Arancini Balls followed, where traditional arancini were filled with fresh peas, parmesan and mozzarella. While it was a fried dish, the delicately frizzled exterior kept this refined and gentle. 

The accompanying Calamari Fritti of fried calamari tossed in crushed salt and pepper and served on a bed of fresh rocket with a side of lemon mayonnaise was an explosion of flavours within the mouth – except ladies don’t really explode. Well, not on this occasion at least. The lemon mayonnaise was a wonderful balance to the fried flavours, the pomade richly compensated by the zesty creaminess. 

The final scene saw a trio of fine displays. Carpaccio di Manzo meant thinly sliced raw beef tenderloin, served with extra virgin olive oil and lemon, finished with fresh rocket, shaved parmesan and pickled truffle and cracked black pepper. The subtlety of the pickled truffle were a lush indulgence balancing the tender slices of beef as the parmesan and rocket leant a fresh bite.

This was escorted by Vitello Tonnato of thinly sliced braised Gippsland veal, served cold with a mayonnaise of tuna, capers, anchovies and topped with cornichons. The filminess of the veal and tuna were wonderfully counterbalanced by the tartness of the capers, anchovies and cornichons. 

The concluding dish of Rollata di Salmone united wood hot-smoked tasmania atlantic salmon with chives, mascarpone and served with shaved fennel and lemon mousse – a cordial flavoursome dish where the fragile slices of salmon were augmented by the fragrance of chives and fennel as the mascarpone and rich lemon mousse formed pleasing creamy mayhem on the tastebuds. 

The carpacciovitello and rollata were ambrosial delights, certainly wonderfully executed performances comparable to any Puccini or Verdi opera. And while an array of foods were served, they united as a light attainment. The four musts had definitely been crossed off, so ladies lunching could turn into ladies things.

Photo Credit: Lady Lex


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