Franco Choo’s Italian
179a High Street
+61 3 9529 7310
So, The Angmoh and I have been going for more than a year. I’ve met his family several times and am absolutely in love with them. I still have an issue referring to his parents by their names. In my culture, that’s rather rude and I’d prefer to address them with “Uncle” and “Aunty”. That however, would be frowned upon in reality, so I now make up for it by having them as said titles in my blog: Uncle Gez and Aunty Red.
After a movie at the Jam Factory, I shuffled them to the quieter end of Chapel Street and into the intimate embrace of Franco Choo’s. I had read the reviews of this modest Italian diner from Fakebooo, Ashley and I-Hua, and was confident that The Angmoh’s Angmoh family would enjoy the authenticity of Italian fare in this marvelous little gem.
It was a late start to dinner at 9pm. As the family discussed “The World’s End” and The Angmoh piqued about a connection of the trilogy involving a certain omnipresent ice cream, I suppressed hangry emotions with a glass of Garganega “La Prova”. Not usually one for white wine, this was delicious. It was floral and sweet with rounded notes of apricot and peach. I absolutely have to hunt up a bottle!
The food order was finally made, much to my hangry tummy’s relief. Entrees of puy lentils with sausages, orecchiette with turnip tops and a cauliflower salad graced the table. The lentils were soft and spiced from the rendered fatty cotechino sausage. The pasta was perfectly al dente and delicately flavoured from the anchovies. The onion puree was sweet and matched well with the cauliflower and crisp kale.
Both mains were ordered from the blackboard menu. The pork cheek was a delight, with tender flavoursome meat and crunchy crunchy crackling oozing with porky fattiness. The tart quince was well-paired to help cut through the richness. Aunty Red had the fish, which she enjoyed in silence. It looked flawlessly cooked, with the fresh fish enhanced by creamy potatoes and sweet peas.
As the night progressed and patrons started to mill out, we continued with dessert and tea. I was curious about the black olive caramel. It was magnificent. The caramel had the fruity flavours from the olive and an after taste of salt. It was a superior version of the now ubiquitous “salted caramel”. The dessert was well-balanced: the chocolate was sweet and rich, caramel salty and gooey and the grapefruit provided zest and tang.
By the time we finally finished, it was a quarter past 11pm and we were the only ones left. Staff had started inconspicuously cleaning and tidying up and none had hinted for us to leave. I am certainly charmed by Franco Choo, with its handwritten black boards, mis-matched cutlery, hospitable service and delicious food.