Saturday, February 10, 2007

Eating Out: Piadina Slow Food

Rear 57 Lonsdale Street, Melbourne
(03) 9662 2277

It was on a whim that I went to Piadina Slow Food today for lunch - and holy-freaking-cow, Batman, am I glad I did!.

Looking at the piadina's I thought "hm, no, I want to try something different today". Seeing my dilemma the rather eccentric lad who seems to run the joint queried me about what I felt like. Did I eat lamb? (no). What about a spicy chicken, since I usually have the rather sedate almond-coated chicken breast piadina with whole-egg mayonnaise? (hmm, no, want ONE day this week where I don't have chilli). Do I eat beef? (yes, yes I do). How about these beef ribs we've had cooking for about 8 hours, marinated in red wine, green tea and marmalade? (hmm.... interesting.... yeah sure, I'll give it a go).

While I was waiting for the take-away container to be made up he gave me a little taste-test. I had been a little dubious when he told me the marinade ingredients, but with that first taste I was completely blown away. My taste buds didn't know what to rave about first - the smooth texture of the meat, the initial burst of red wine, or the lingering afterglow of the marmalade. Winding it's way through all of that the green tea effortlessly lent itself to everything, adding the most subtle difference to it all. The thought that I would soon have my own little serving of such a divine creation left me fair salivating right there at the counter.

Finally, after what seemed like an age, I was presented with my foil container in its non-descript brown paper bag. The only thing stopping me from ripping it open and picking the whole lot up in my fingers and eating like a caveman right there was the fear the meat would simply fall to pieces and onto the ground (actually, that's exactly what I did do in the finish, to get the last few scraps of flesh from the bone). So I hastened back to my desk. The burst of fragrant steam set my mouth to watering in a jiffy. No cutting required - the merest hint of pressure and the meat parted onto the fork so easily it almost defies belief. The first bite was everything the taster had promised back at the store. I was glad to be eating alone as if anyone had suggested, nay, HINTED, at trying a bite I fear I would have behaved something like a rabid dog: guarding my prize, hackles raised, teeth barred in a growl - even to you, dear. Served atop a small bed of rice, with a nest of rocket (? I'm not up to speed on things green and leafy) tossed with oil and salt on the side, it was my own personal spiritual experience. Alas, $13 and a varying menu mean it won't be something I can experience every day, but I think that has made me appreciate it all the more.

Will I attempt to re-create the marinade for myself? Hell yes. Will I succeed? Probably not! But it won't stop me trying.

Think I'm raving a bit too much? Thinking to yourself "oh come on, it was just a bit of meat"? I defy you to try it for yourself (get your own darned serving, y'ain't gettin' none o' mine!) and see.

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