Scorcher reviews: Aromi
312 New St, Brighton
There are some restaurants that are worth getting stuck in traffic for.
Ross Stevenson has a theory that Melburnians will all soon live in villages as getting around town becomes ever more tedious and tiresome. We’ll all just have to stay put and be content with the shops and restaurants in our immediate vicinity.
But there are a number of suburban restaurants in this city where the edible payoff is greater than mental anguish you’ll have to endure by leaving your neighbourhood and crossing town.
Brighton’s newest Italian diner Aromi fits that category. Its snazzy and slick interior – black granite tables, concrete bar, vertical garden wall – blends in seamlessly with its Brighton surroundings but don’t for one moment think Aromi is going to be snobby. It’s anything but. Head bartender Luca Masciulli welcomes you the way a nonna would welcome her visiting grandkids, minus the smooch.
Aromi is the breakaway passion project of owners Paolo Masciopinto and Salvatore Montella, who were pals from previously working at excellent Italian eateries Bar Carolina in South Yarra and Sarti in the city.
When dining at Aromi, it’s mandatory, I say, to kick off proceedings with a round of gnocco fritto. One serve for everyone, two if you’re feeling extravagant. These pillowy clouds of spongey dough are stuffed with gooey smoked scamorza and layered with a thin slice of wagyu bresaola. Talk about the perfect marrying of carbs and fat. These are the most winning combination since Torvill and Dean.
Mrs Scorcher and I shared two plates of pasta for the main event and it was a photo finish to determine which won dish of the day. My nest of tomato spaghetti with sweet flecks of crab, chilli and shavings of macadamia was the odds-on favourite but may have just been edged out on the line by a robust bowl of gnocchi with rabbit, mushroom and pecorino shards – the perfect dish to order on a frigid winter’s afternoon.
Melbourne is packed tighter than St Mark’s Square on a summer’s day with insanely good Italian restaurants, so it can be a challenge to stand out. (Is it possible that we have better Italian restaurants here than in Italy? Crazy thing to say, I know. But I ate so poorly on all my trips to Italy.) But Aromi is one to watch.
I’d be more than happy to endure the traffic snarls and road ragers and cross the city to get a plate of pasta at Aromi again.
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