Wednesday, 1 May 2013

Garden Tuscany

32 Young St 
Moonee Ponds, VIC 3039

I could not believe my eyes. I was walking down a quiet Melbourne laneway paved with cobblestones, but then we ducked through a sliding wooden door, and all of a sudden I was possibly no longer in Melbourne, and almost definitely no longer in 2013.  

Being in Garden Tuscany was like stepping into a fairy tale. It was an indoor garden that spoke of bygone civilisations with its brick floors and rough-hewn stone walls. Piles of firewood were stacked in the corners, and the walls were adorned with carvings and oil lamps. There was even a huge wood fire oven in the corner that was actually used to make pizza.

Skewers of Cherry Tomato, Bocconcini, Fresh Basil, and Balsamic Glaze ($7.5 a la carte)

Under some gentle guidance, we opted for the Tuscan Sharing Menu($27pp), which gave the two of us a starter, 2 pizzas, and 2 desserts to share. 10 minutes later, we were snacking on a plate of Skewers of Cherry Tomato, Bocconcini, Fresh Basil, and Balsamic Glaze ($7.5 a la carte). This is a classic combination and it’s beautiful when done right, with firm cherry tomatoes that exploded in the mouth, mild, doughy balls of cheese, and basil leaves just crushed enough for the scent to wash out in waves. 

Chorizo Pizza ($14 a la carte)

We were both keen for the Chorizo Pizza ($14 a la carte), and it was a good choice. The sausage was generously sliced, housing pockets of gooey fior di latte and sprinkled with oregano. I couldn’t taste much of the roasted capsicum but it was still delicious, especially on a thicker, crispy base that could hold the weight of the toppings without being heavy. 

Vegetariana Pizza ($14 a la carte)

A Vegetariana Pizza ($14 a la carte) is yummy, but it’s even yummier when it’s loaded up with mozzarella. This was a homely pizza, the mushrooms and capsicum covered in a sheet of stretchy cheese, occasionally interspersed with an olive or two. 

Artisan Chocolate Brownie ($10 a la carte)

We couldn’t go past the Artisan Chocolate Brownie ($10 a la carte) for dessert, and this was a beautifully flourless chocolate slice, studded with macadamia and almonds. It was comforting yet indulgent – a spoonful of warm brownie for a spoonful of cool ice cream. 

Frangelico Dark Hot Chocolate Affogato ($10 a la carte)

Frangelico Dark Hot Chocolate Affogato ($10 a la carte)

When it comes to Frangelico Dark Hot Chocolate Affogato ($10 a la carte), you really can’t lose. This is the adult’s version of the childhood drink – a jug of frothy hot chocolate thickened with ice cream, and a tipple of hazelnut liqueur added to give it an alcoholic tingle.

Garden Tuscany is unlike anywhere I have ever been before, and I’m not just talking about the fantastical decor. Stella, Sam and Lance run the restaurant flawlessly; they make you feel like you’re in their home as a treasured friend, and they always have a moment to stop for a chat. It’s neither the place for a gourmet pizza nor a huge feed; rather, it’s a place you go on a Friday night when you want a home away from home. This really is as romantic as pizza gets.

Rating: 13.5/20 – cheesy romance.  

The rating reflects my personal experience at the time of visit. / Sweet and Sour Fork dined as a guest of Garden Tuscany

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  1. My, that picture of chocolate pouring is just dreamy. You have some excellent photography skills. Such a cute place Garden Tuscany is, should be more like that somewhere closer to Melbourne eastside though.

    1. Thank you! I'd have to attribute most of that photo to ever-suffering chris though; he's had way more practice than he would like :p