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Ela fires up at Motorino
Motorino – 29a Vernon Street South Kingsville www.foodbymotorino.com.au
It’s no secret, I’ve moved house. Not too far, but far enough to be in a new ‘hood with new dining and drinking opportunities. So before we even had the last of the furniture in, it was off to find my new local eats.
Wasn’t that hard, I’d already had one go at Motorino – an Italian restaurant in the mysterious suburb of “South Kingsville”, a triangular pocket bordered by Spotswood, Altona North and the bustling Princes Fwy. The first time around, Motorino seemed quaint, and as promised – family friendly. With butchers paper and crayons on every table, and an atmosphere loud enough that the odd toddler outburst wouldn’t be noticed. Not so much had changed this time around, except that it was decidedly funkier!
Timber tables and chairs sit upon a checkerboard tiled floor, the menu is sprawled across a wall covered in blackboard paint. This might be an easygoing neighbourhood eatery, but it’s pretty serious when it comes to good Italian dishes with fine Italian ingredients.
For starters, gorgeous sea salt and olive oil flat breads seemed to come straight from the oven, we paired them with a salumi plate featuring pancetta, sopressa, prosciutto and bocconcini. The carpaccio of Tasmanian oak smoked salmon didn’t last long, sprinkled as it was with with the baby capers, fresh dill, red onion and lemon.
The pastas sound mouth watering - Fusili with Tuscan sausage, caramelised onions, garlic, sugo and parmesan; or spaghetti putanesca with vine-ripened tomatoes, red onion, crushed olives, capers, anchovies, chilli and garlic. Just one pasta on the whole menu is priced over $20.
I went with the tagliatelle with soft pumpkin, fresh peas, caramelised onions, garlic, baby spinach, ricotta, parmesan and fried sourdough breadcrumbs. Quite subtle flavours to begin with, but the more I ate, the tastier it become – think big mouthfuls of ricotta, garlicky breadcrumbs, creamy ricotta, roast pumpkin and al dente pasta. At $16.50 for a generous serve, it was a bargain.
Pizzas were just as good, with the dough made in house, crispy base and a great array of toppings. Big chunks of prawn, red onion, basil, a good kick of chilli, lemon and rocket round out the Tiger Prawn pizza; the Moroccan lamb paired the meat with roasted peppers, red onion, mozzarella and lemon yoghurt.
For a place that was pumping on this Wednesday night, including two large group tables, we were served quickly and efficiently. Really hard to go past Motorino for a quick, quality, midweek meal out – the kind you that makes you feel a bit indulgent, without the guilt of stretching the hip pocket.
Great beer list – from Italian imports, to local craft beers all priced at $8, wines by the glass will cost you the same; and if you can squeeze it in, try the gelato.
It’s a bit of a privilege to have a real local gem, and over in the west, I’ll be very proud to call this one mine. Make sure you check Facebook for the weekly specials, they’re frustratingly mouth watering (don’t look on an empty stomach!).