Sapore shines on so many different levels. It is hard not to be impressed with its St. Kilda location that offers views of the esplanade, despite it being a bit of a struggle to find a reasonable park for dinner on a weekend. The restaurants fit out is swanky and modern yet cosy and intimate thanks to the cushioned fabric wall on one side, plush comfortable sofas, and curved ceilings that add a certain softness. You enter the restaurant through a glass entrance, almost box like, a very clever idea since it makes for perfect viewing of the whole restaurant as you enter, and in winter it means that diners are away from the draughty cold creeping in.
Warm house made bread that we were served with a beautiful fruity Northern Victoria virgin olive oil made by an Italian veteran producer was top notch.
Googlie and myself opted for the saporetti – a trio of entrees to share. The beef Carpaccio with white anchovies, cos lettuce and egg was mind bogglingly brilliant. The beef and anchovy not a combination I would expect together, but one that worked amazingly. The dish left me humming with happiness and wanting more, and two weeks down the track and I am still thinking fondly of the dish and wanting more. Talk about leaving an impression – get out of my head!
The lightly floured and fried calamari was deliciously blonde, crisp and cooked perfectly – soft and melt in the mouth. Last on the platter was a bruschetta of eggplant, goat’s cheese, mint, parsley and slivered almonds – simple flavours that just melded together to create a light, zesty infusion and a big impact on the palate.
I can be a bit of an ordering Nazi when it comes to people on my dinner table getting the same main. But both Googlie and I were both sold on the gnocchi and had to break the rules, just this once! Neither of us was prepared to share!
Oh how I love a good gnocchi – one that is oh so light and fluffy, so there was no passing the rabbit ragout with house made gnocchi and truffle butter. What a pleasurable dish from start to finish. A generous serving, and the rustic representation on the plate was refreshing and the quality of the produce shone through thanks to the careful cooking. The truffle butter was not lost in the dish as I thought it may have been, but it accentuated the robust rabbit flesh and the earthiness of the potatoes.
Dessert doesn’t do it for me, so I usually go without unless there is a wobbly pancotta on the menu. No panacotta, but we did find tiramisu, good old Italian favourite. We opted to try the tiramisu and an affogoto to share between us.
Dessert was undoubtedly the least impressive course. Unfortunately it was rather soggy, with stodgy layers that did nothing at all for mouth feel and the overall flavour was a bit flat – cream overkill.
On the whole (disregarding dessert) Sapore impressed. The meals were beautiful with obvious care taken. And with a restaurant as charming as this one I will definitely be back for me. The capriccio is calling…
Ambience Impressive with so many things going for it – great location, wonderfully intimate atmosphere and sleek dining space. What’s not to love?
Service Sharp, intelligent and on the money.
Food This is not an Italian restaurant that is inspired by everything Italian with an identity crisis. This is the real deal. Quality all the way paired with vision.