I'm a freelance writer and primary school teacher living in SE Melbourne. I love finding adventures for myself, my husband and our four kids to enjoy. Come along! Heart my articles, subscribe to the fun, follow along on www.facebook.com/WNMelbourne
Published August 27th 2014
Mangiare e felicita; eating is happiness
La Svolta Italian Restaurant in Hampton was buzzing when we arrived. It was a Thursday night; we were seated quickly at a comfortable table near the open kitchen. I watched a chef skillfully slide several circles of freshly-topped dough into the open wood fire. The delicious smelling pizza brought be back to the cobbled streets of Naples that I visited nearly twenty years ago.
La Svolta, translated, "turning point", feels, sounds, and smells like authentic Italy. "At La Svolta we believe mangiare e felicita; eating is happiness. Our authentic Italian menu and friendly hospitality welcomes patrons into our family kitchen, bringing a little bit of Italy to Hampton Street."
Our special: Scotch Fillet and pumpkin chips
Tuscan wine was quick to grace our table, as was a cheerful and attentive hostess. We hesitated about entrees, and the hostess offered impressive knowledge and opinion on our options.
There is a lot to be said about the clientele of a place. La Svolta was bursting at the seams with hugs across tables, young adults, mixed generations, a birthday party for a small boy, "Evviva! Cin Cin! Salut!" ("Cheers!" in Italian). Ah, Italian. It is good to hear customers speaking Italian in an Italian restaurant; a sign of authenticity, no?
A bit of a wait between our entrees and mains, but we were served well, and lingered over our wine. The entree was a gluten-free seafood affair; Antipasto di Pesce, mixed seafood tasting plate: octopus salad, barramundi pate on celery, marinated tuna, smoked salmon on rocket; a perfect mix of textures and complementary flavours.
While there were over twenty choices of pizzas, and many oh so delicioso looking selections of homemade gnocchi, ravioli, cavatelli, and tagliatelle, no pizzas were available in gluten free and a gluten free pasta was available but only with some dishes. There were some nice fish options and the special that I ordered was a melt-in-your-mouth perfect scotch fillet served with pumpkin chips and fungi (sautéed mushrooms) with sun-dried tomatoes.
Valerio and Giuessepe know how to treat their customers, and I hope you get a chance to find out soon for yourself. My only regret is not saving more room for dessert; you can bet they make a mean tiramisu.