Just north of Grossi Florentino and not far from Gingerboy on the corner of Bourke Street and Crossley Street on the Hill of Content, you will find the unassuming Pellegrini's. A Italian stalwart of the neighbourhood for years, you are not greeted by a host or hostess per se but by very busy staff making coffees and working the bar in a bustling small but quaint space. You essentially have three choices when you come to this place: order something to takeaway (food and/or drink) find a seat at the main bar where you have some space to dine or take a stool at the plank opposite against the wall where you will have half the space and will be sitting side-saddle like a lady from the Victorian era when you eat. Every seat is sought after by the starved and dehydrated but it was with luck that we were able to secure two seats at the end of the proper bar.
A wooden board hangs from the ceiling that advertises what is available. We ordered the meat lasagna special and two granitas to start. Within about 30 seconds you are given a plate with buttered bread and about one minute later, the lasagne appeared. The first thing that came into my head after I had a taste was it was home cooking and something that you would expect in some laneway in Tuscany or from the kitchen of Tony Soprano's mother. Commands and requests flew through the air in Italian from the bar back to the kitchen and whilst sipping the granita and later an espresso (to give me the strength needed to see Les Miserables) you have a chance to admire the memorabilia.
The staff have service down to that of a well-oiled machine and when the $44 bill came, I was a bit shocked that it was so inexpensive. Certainly good value for money with a quaint and almost quirky ambiance where you are almost fooled that you are no longer in the Melbourne CBD. I thought such characters found at this place could only be found in an episode of The Sopranos, but I was wrong. It was good fun and it certainly gave me the strength needed to get through Les Miserables (which wasn't such a chore really) so now I can sing the song for Pellegrini's - cheap and cheerful indeed.
66 Bourke Street, Melbourne VIC 3000(03) 9662 1885
no web site
My Rating: n/a
Value For Money: n/a
e-mail: epicureanofsouthbank (at) gmail (dot) com
At the time of this post, 83% of the reviewers on Urbanspoon also like Pellegrini's.