La Piazza Bar & Restaurant - Bendigo
Date: Wednesday 29th June 2011
Restaurant: La Piazza Bar & Restaurant - Bendigo
Address: 2 - 4 Howard Place, Bendigo
Phone: 03 5444 4499
Commentary: Sarah Andrew
La Piazza’s owner, Carlo Barri has worked in the hospitality industry for over 33 years and built a reputation for excellence and quality in customer service. I first met Carlo at The Sandhurst Club which he managed for 14 years before launching his current venture La Piazza at the end of 2009. Carlo is a chef by trade, and with experience of cooking in France and Italy, he has a passion for Mediterranean cuisine. His focus on wine is to source the very best locally, offering excellent regional examples of wine and a selection of imported wines.
The venue is more than a restaurant and wine bar as it has a dedicated wine room, perfect for functions and wine tastings. Regular tasting events are scheduled for Wednesday evenings in which you can drop in for a tasting and then stay on for a meal. The selection of wine in the cellar room is an extension to the wine list, whereby you can select your own bottle for the evening and pay retail price with a corkage fee. There is also a retail licence, so if you really enjoy a bottle with your meal you can purchase another to take home.
I was at the venue on Wednesday 29th June to host a wine tasting for some of the regular customers. The selection of wine on tasting included the Georges Michel Methode Traditionelle NV (Marlborough), Lamont Riesling 2008 (Central Otago), Lamont Pinot Noir 2007 (Central Otago) and Thomas Vineyard Estate Shiraz 2007 (McLaren Vale). I had invited my parents to join me for the tasting and then stay on for a meal. By the end of the tasting there were a number of friends who had joined us so we sat down as a group and had a delightful evening.
The popular selection for our main course was one of the specials: saltimbocca alla romana - milk fed veal cooked with prosciutto & sage served with grilled roman gnocchi. Those of us who selected this dish were stunned by the presentation and texture of the gnocchi: served in a circular fashion it was so fluffy and light I had to remind myself I was eating gnocchi! This was accompanied with patate e rosmarino (potato sautéed with rosemary) and fagiolini al aglio e olio (steamed green beans tossed in garlic and olive oil. I thoroughly enjoyed everything I ate.
The venue is closed on a Monday, open for lunch and dinner Tuesday to Saturday and lunch only on Sunday. It is a great venue for a group booking, function or just a quiet meal for two. Carlo is extremely passionate about food and wine and a really great guy. It is always a delight to visit and a bonus if I am able to stay for a meal!
So when you are next in Bendigo - drop in for a glass of wine and stay for a bite to eat.