Joe Mammone, owner of CBD institutions Sarti and Il Bacaro, has opened up the super-hip Italian Bar Carolina in South Yarra. Under the reins of Head Chef Paolo Masciopinto, the fabulously modern menu is a spin on classic dishes.
The interior is very South Yarra: slick and inviting, with drop-down light hangings, a classy bar perfect for an aperitif, and tables spilling onto Toorak Road to perch on a balmy night.
Start with the stuzzichini – appetisers to share – including octo fritto. This creative spin on fried calamari is a mix of octopus, cuttlefish and crispy, salty school prawns on a vibrant smudge of beetroot mayo. House-made pastas are the real deal, including the ravioli di barbabietola, a colourful beetroot-filled pasta with goat cheese and poppy seeds. For larger dishes, the whole rock flathead is soft and delectable with a subtle lemon sauce that carries a tang of sweet vermouth. The tender lamb and sweetbread is cooked on their signature wood-fire Josper grill imported from Spain.
PSST! For a special occasion, check their premium wine list, including unique Italian varietals.