As guests at a good friends 30th birthday party, we find ourselves venturing to Acland Street, St Kilda’s Italian restaurant, Rococo. To be precise, the “Pizzeria Room.” Since first launching in 2005 Rococo’s restaurant has expanded from one to four shop fronts. The latest addition is a purpose built 50-seat private dining room to host exclusive events or cocktail functions for up to 80 guests, whilst the other three existing areas trade a’ la carte, as normal.
Taking pride of place in this beautifully designed space is a magnificent, fully imported Italian pizza oven, it’s aroma filling the setting and creating an appetite, almost instantaneously as you enter. Leather banquette seating lines one entire wall and one large long table and opposing seating fill the entire space. Black metal windows and doors frame alfresco diners on the street.
Once seated everything starts to move. On cue, polished wait-staff are everywhere. Our host has chosen one of three set menus. 3 – Courses $75 per person with antipasti to start, a selection of 6 mains and 1 of 3 desserts. The additional set menus on offer are both 2 – Courses and are $55 per person and $65 per person. Click here to view Rococo Set Menus
Also, pre-arranged are drinks from one of 2 Rococo Beverage Packages, which range from $35 per person up to $70 per person and depend on the duration. Click here to view Rococo Beverage Packages.
The wine list’s focus is on a mix of Australian and New Zealand varietals and expectantly a reasonably priced selection of great imported food wines from Italy. The beer range has a local craft brewery focus with a Two Brothers Lager from Moorabbin, Napoleon Apple Cider form the Yarra Valley, a Coldstream Czech Pilsner and a Boatrocker Pale Ale from Braeside.
The food options are fabulous for a function, and I must admit Italian fare is one of my favorites, there’s always something to please everyone. It’s no different here, there’s a choice of pizzas, risottos, pasta, gnocchi, Pollo Alla Milanese and a 320 gram Black Angus Char Grilled Sirloin.
To drink my accomplice has selected a Grenache Rose from Valencia, Spain it’s Italian name; Marques Del Turia Bobal. I gravitate toward a previously familiar Italian friend, the Rocca Ventosa Sangiovese from Abruzzo.
The dinner party’s starting to get into full swing and a generous, Antipasti is placed in front of us with an in-house oven-baked focaccia, Ciabatta, extra-virgin olive oil and sea salt. Accompanied by Saffron Arancini, a selection of mixed olives, Prosciutto Di Parma, Char-Grilled Calamari and Pumpkin Frittata. Combined with our wine its lovely way to start.
Mains arrive and we’ve chosen the handmade Gnocchi Al Pomodoro, Linguine Alla Rococo and a Rocket and Parmesan Salad with Balsamic, lemon and olive oil dressing to share. The pasta’s cooked perfectly al dente and we are both more than content. Friends seated next to us commented on how amazing the Char Grilled Seafood Pizza and Rigatoni with pork & fennel sausage, broccoli, tomato, garlic, chili, pangrattato and Parmesan, was. The recommendation so strong, on my next visit I’ll be giving the pork and fennel sausage a go.
The formalities begin with a rousing rendition of Happy Birthday by our group of 50 with a speech from the birthday girl and it’s on to dessert.
There’s a choice of three, Cannoli Siciliani with fresh whipped ricotta, Grand Marnier, candied pistachios, dark chocolate and pistachio gelato, Nutella Panna Cotta with a chocolate & hazelnut crumb or a Flour-less Orange & Polenta Cake with caramel brandy oranges, sea salt, and caramel ice cream.
We decided to go halves and share the Cannoli and Panna Cotta and are rewarded in spades. The combination of Nutella and Panna Cotta was an amazing hit to the finale.
[PD] Says… A brilliant bayside venue in the heart of St Kilda to celebrate a birthday party!