There is this view in philosophy that there is a little bit of evil in good, and a little bit of good in evil, and whilst I think the Crown Casino is evil, the good that it provides are its restaurants.
But first, a bit of background to our day. We took the kids out to the city, and spent a good five hours just wandering through Melbourne, exploring laneways that we hadn't visited for many years, checking out our favourite old buildings, bumping into friends, and the like. It was a long day for all of us, but the missus decided that dinner at Giuseppe Arnoldo And Sons would be a lovely treat and a great way to end the day.
We got to G.A.S. at about 5pm. The restaurant wasn't open yet, but the barman invited us to have a drink. We were very tired and we wearn't too sure how they'd like a 3 year old and 11 month old in the dining room, but we were assured that the kids were welcome. And they did more than just assure us. After mixing us a couple of sensational campari with red grapefruit, he took the time to chat to us as he was getting prepared for evening service. Not only that, he cleaned our baby bottle and filled it with warm water so we could mix up some formula for our 11 month old. Later, one of the senior waiters set aside a high chair and a child seat for our kids. After we were seated, she brought out some pencils and colouring paper for our 3 year old to use. The only negative reaction we got was from a couple of women from another table who appeared to think that young kids shouldn't have been allowed into G.A.P. (although soon enough, other families came in to dine).
As we looked at the menu, they brought out a plate with a selection of different breads, and we enjoyed that with the G.A.S. labelled olive oil (very fruity and fresh). Here is what we had: A mixture of warm olives, an antipasti of poplette (veal, pork, and mortadella fried meatballs) with lemon and celery salad), penne rigate (pork sausages, sage, tomato, garlic sauce and chilli), spaghettini (sea urchin, fennal poached tomato), baked chocolate pot with chocolate pearls, and vanilla mascapone tart with fresh raspberry and rose flavoured grappa. Like our dinner at Bistro Guillaume, it was simple food that was superbly executed. They used excellent ingredients and the cooking resulted in flavours that were bright and balanced.
I'm not of Italian extraction, so I can't really say that the food was like "mama used to make", but my best mate is Italian and his mum is an amazing cook. The poplettes reminded me of his mum's cooking in that the flavour of the mortadella was enough to be noticed, but not strong enough to be dominating - so that did bring back some memories for me.
The staff were wonderful. They were always checking to see how we were going, they put our pram into a safe place, and they took time to engage in some playful banter with our two girls.
After a tiring day, the food lifted our souls, and brought smiles to our tired faces.
We spent about $100 on the food, and we left there having had the perfect end to a busy day.
Dinner At Giuseppe Arnaldo And Sons
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