Nutritionist & Life Coach
Meeting all requirements to call myself so (i.e. none)
Published February 12th 2019
I will never tyre of the Michelin star quality @ Quinti
It's 11:15am on a Tuesday morning and already two small parties have eyed the locked door with some disappointment before ambling on. Another minute ticks by. The lights at the corner of Burwood and Glenferrie Road change and the tram voices its bell before setting off with the petroleum-powered throng that flank it snarling their ode to haste.
At this moment, Giacomo Quinti appears at speed on a hoverboard, to the smiles of his (literally) waiting staff and this author he leaps nimbly to the footpath, both he and the millennial vehicle come to a pause at precisely the same time. All that is missing is a drumroll and a round of applause but none of us has had our coffee yet.
Giacomo and his restaurant Quniti Tuscan Lifestyle have been a fixture on this corner for some years and he amiably greets the homeless man on his doorstep by name, omitting any correction to the poorly timed welcome of "buonasera" from his interlocutor. The metallic Pinocchio is duly placed at the door, headlining the quirky decoration that makes Quinti so unique and signalling to all that Quinti is now open for business.
The man who nose too much
Originally trading from breakfast to dinner replete with three cooks in its tiny kitchen, Giacomo has sensibly stripped things back and thus the place opens at 11am (or more often ~11:17) for lunch and dinner. There is now only one chef (Giacomo himself) and a menu limited to authentic Italian cuisine (gone now is the 'Tuscan hamburger' and imported breakfast pastries).
The result is an authentic Italian experience in the heart of Hawthorn, underlined by Giacomo's dedication to his customers – many of whom, including this author, are now regulars due in no small part to the quality of the coffee, the food and the wine but in equal measure Giacomo's boundless enthusiasm and warm hospitality for all who pass his door.
The coffee is for what I most often attend Quinti: an Italian espresso machine expertly wielded yields the finest dark mixture in all the land. It is the food though that has me asking, where is Giacomo's Michelin star?
I am reliably informed that the criteria for a Michelin star include: Quality of the products
Mastery of flavour and cooking techniques The personality of the chef in their cuisine
Value for money
Consistency between visits
So how does Quinti tick these boxes?
Quality of the products
Says International Director of Michelin Guides, Michael Ellis "making the simple sublime will get our attention". Though I can't vouch for where Giacomo sources his products (though I do have a man crush on him, stalking to this degree is far too much effort) there is no room for crap on the Quinti menu as evinced by the quality of what is put out on the plate time after time. Suffice to say "making the simple sublime" could be the motto of Quinti.
Mastery of flavour and cooking techniques
Handmade pasta made fresh daily and drizzled lovingly with the diner's requested sauce is the order of the day at Quniti. Giacomo has clearly been cooking these dishes since he was young and the balance of flavours is impeccable.
The personality of the chef in their cuisine
From the Ricotta Gnocchi to the stunning cake of the day, Giacomo has unique twists on classic Italian cuisine. The classic tiramisu makes any others appear second rate while the Bread and Butter Pudding is a story. Not classically Italian it could appear out of place however this came about originally as a way to save yesterday's croissants from being wasted back in the days of Quinti's breakfast service. So many regulars kept requesting this ingeniously improvised dessert that Giacomo now has to order in croissants simply to fill the demand for said puddings.
Value for Money
One taste of the pasta Giacomo puts in front of you and you would happily pay double the asking price (though I've never sampled the truffle dishes you'd probably pay one-and-a-half times the asking price for these). Portion size is not excessive however the richness of the offering means that satiety is not a problem you will have after a Quinti main. You may even struggle to find room for the dessert (until, of course, you have one small bite and then room will be made come what may). And oh the desserts! The cake of the day is always stunning, never cloyingly sweet and just perfect with a coffee or for afters. The alcoholic ice cream meanwhile is a sinful indulgence that you hope your Grandkids will never find out about.
Consistency between visits
According to Ellis "our inspectors visit a restaurant two or three times, with different inspectors visiting each time, before making a decision." Though I'm not sure how changing inspectors is a way to measure consistency, I can tell you that on all my visits to Quinti I have walked away a happy (and full) man. Giacomo definitely has others in the area who charge a similar price well covered
No doubt with my influential voice behind it, Quinti will soon be appearing in the Michelin guide. Or not. Either way, come down and evaluate for yourself their suitability for such an honour. In my book, Quinti is the star of the show.