Basement, 221 Queen Street, City
03 9670 8488
I was looking for a spot in the city to take some fellow bloodstock agents out to lunch where we could talk the talk in a relaxed environment and not get kicked out in case we hadn’t solved all the problems of the industry in time! A lawyer who lunches a lot recommended Caterina’s Cucina at 221 Queen Street Melbourne would be perfect.
Well what a discovery! Caterina’s is in a basement and as you go down the stairs you find yourself in old world Italy. The décor is basic but warm and cozy and from the minute you sit down you are welcomed by the friendly and very on the ball staff.
Caterina’s style of food is rustic northern Italian style. The menu is large and then the waiter will recite a long list of daily specials. We decided to put ourselves in the hands of the experts for starters and have a little taste of lots of the entrees.
Amongst our initial tasting plate was vitello tonnato which is thin wafers of veal fanned around tuna mayonnaise with carrot and celery slivers, seared scallops, huge prawns and some antipasto.
We were then treated to three different serves of pasta including a linguine with mushrooms, a penne arrabiata and a fettucine. After that we each had a main course that included fish, veal, steak, osso bucco and suckling pig. The food was absolutely fantastic, cooked to perfection and delicious.
Caterina’s is mainly a businessman’s lunch hangout and is only open for lunch and never for dinner, but I must say the stuff were brilliant and most accommodating.
At 5.30pm I said to the waitress that we couldn’t decide whether or not to have another bottle of red or pay the bill and leave, and she replied that as long as we didn’t mind her vacuuming that she suggested we have another red! Our lunch ended up finishing at 7pm with my co-agents a lot worse for wear!
Caterina’s is medium priced but combines old school service, with table-top crumb combing and napkin twirling for temporarily absent diners, all in keeping with the basement room’s brass light fittings, wood paneling, exposed beams and granddad’s carpet.
The food, service and menu make it very worthwhile and I highly recommend it.