A Melbourne based writer who is a travel junkie, dedicated foodie and emerging photographer.
Published May 23rd 2014
A little bird told me
We were going to see Chef (the movie) at the wonderful Sun Theatre in Yarraville, and had been warned that, because of all the delicious foodie shots, we should dine first. There are some great restaurants in Yarraville - very funky, not too pretentious - just great food. However, we found one that, unfortunately, was not so great on this occasion.
As it's the only time we've visited this place, perhaps it was just having an off day.
Looking into L'uccellino from Ballarat Street
L'uccellino (which means little bird, or chick, in Italian), located at 20 Ballarat Street in Yarraville, has the look of an Italian trattoria. It has most of its tables located along the right side of the restaurant (as you look in from the entrance). Most of these were full of primarily pizza eating patrons when we walked in. We were seated along the left hand side of the restaurant at a table for two. The restaurant has adopted the 'low light' policy; though where we were seated, it was, we felt, a little too poorly lit to be comfortable. Even with my reading glasses on, I could hardly read the menu. The visual impact of the meals, when they arrived, could not really be appreciated because of the dimness.
The lighting is too low to be mood lighting!
There was a woman whom I assumed to be the manager who, from the start, radiated an attitude that, I felt, didn't fit in a restaurant; she didn't seem warm at all. The wait staff seemed flustered and kept dropping things on the (hard wooden) floor - creating a clattering and banging that, of course, disturbed the ambience of the restaurant. The manager's attitude became more positive when I produced a camera and started taking photos; although it felt almost like an interrogation when I was asked why I was taking photos and where I was from. I have to confess that on this occasion, I did not own up to the fact that I would be writing a review.
I'm sorry to say that the food did not save my opinion of this restaurant. My partner and I each had pizzas - a safe option, we felt. As I said, a lot of people were eating pizzas, and we could see the pizza oven in full swing. There is an impressive array of pizzas available - some 23 to choose from. Dave chose an old favourite - the capricciosa ($17). I chose a broccoli pizza - 'in bianco, fior di latte, broccoli, lemon, chilli & parmigiano' ($18). The bright spot was the toppings - they were fresh, tasty and generous. The base, however, was perhaps a little undercooked, and doughy rather than crisp. For a restaurant that specialises in pizzas, that is not good enough.
We certainly didn't hang around for dessert. I won't be rushing back to L'uccellino.