Carosello, Moonee Ponds
Carosello is a warm, authentic Italian restaurant located in the centre of Moonee Ponds. We went for dinner on a Sunday evening and were surprised to see it full to the brim with a great atmosphere. Carosello is perfect for a family get together or catching up with friends. There’s generous portions across all the food. The Pappardelle ragu was a stand out dish for us with silky smooth, melt-in-the-mouth pasta that was topped off with a rich beefy topping. My one top tip if you are thinking of going to this local is to book to avoid disappointment.
We started by sharing the Focaccia & the Calamari fritti ($14). The starters shot out the kitchen with little wait, which was great given we had skipped lunch. The calamari was served with an excellent white truffle aioli and the serving size was generous. The sauce here being an absolute delight, as it married perfectly with the crunchy calamari. I’m a huge calamari lover and order it at every opportunity and definitely wasn’t disappointed with this.
The Focaccia was crispy, salty and full of garlic! More of a pizza bread than a focaccia. We were kept happy as it was flavourful, though a touch on the salty side but none the less delicious. The bread is served on one of those clever Italian pizza boards which meant we could just about fit it onto the snug table without any major disasters occuring.
For mains we went for a pizza and pasta to share. We went for the Prosciutto pizza ($22) which was a classic topped with 600 day aged Italian ham on it. The meat was exquisite with a beautiful, mild flavour. The pizza itself was as traditional pizzas should be in that it was thin and crispy with a slick layer of toppings. The pizza was well cooked and held up to our manhandling. If you like your pizza in the Neapolitan style with puffiness you may be a bit disappointed, but overall it was a very solid effort.
The Pappardelle ragu ($26) pasta was insanely good. Our favourite. It was so smooth and being thinly rolled it carried an enviable melt-in-your-mouth quality. The beef cheek Ragu was a bonus as I would have happily eaten a huge bowl of this pasta just with olive oil. This is the kind of pasta that’s worth ordering out rather than attempting to make at home, as you can taste the level of skill that went into its production.
To round off dinner we treated ourselves to an Aperol spritz, the classic Venetian cocktail. It was well made with the perfect bitter edge. The rest of the cocktail menu was small but fitting and full of all the favourite Italian classics.
To finish we decided to stretch ourselves and grab the Tiramisu ($12) for dessert. We almost ordered one each but were wisely advised by the staff that the portion was huge and would cover us both off. They weren’t wrong. It was a huge slice of deliciousness. It arrived moist with a great coffee flavour and no overpowering alcohol. The balance of cream and soaked sponge was about right and it was not too sweet or bitter. Great. And huge.
The interior at Carosello is well designed with simple black and white styling, with plenty of natural light. It’s has a sense of being busy, without ever feeling cramped. Service over our time was fantastic with the staff being attentive and were always happy to give advice on the menu. All in all, I would recommend the restaurant and would be back for more of their delicious pasta and Italian classics.
Note: author dined at invitation of the restaurant. Check out the full menu or make a booking on their website