It is hard to have not heard of Tipo OO if you read any of the national or Victorian based food press in recent months. What is the foundation of most Italian joints across the country seems to have been perfectly laid on a busy part of Little Bourke Street in the middle of the city.
When a restaurant is named after the flour used as the base of pasta, you naturally expect excellence. Judging by the hectic long lunch crowd built up inside the restaurant, the chefs and floorstaff are definitely doing something right.
The almost square room is not overburdened with decoration but at its centre is the traditional meat slicer being used to full effect throughout service. There’s some of the usual adornments including plenty of bottles of wine, but like the dishes themselves, the base ingredients are doing much of the talking.
In a little bit of a rush, Eddie and I order the salumi to share as he sits down. The table next door, and most tables around the restaurant seem to have had it, no doubt the cascading effect being due to the meat slicer, and the fact that the meat is almost shining on the plate. It comes quickly and is perfect as a starter.
For main I order the gnocchi with braised duck, porcini mushrooms and pecorino pepato. The gnocchi holds its shape and is light, bathed in a sauce that speaks volumes of the deep flavour of the duck at its heart. In fact, the duck is so defined it is unmistakable. When combined with the gnocchi and other ingredients it is heavenly. A superb dish. Eddie orders the risotto and says it is excellent too. However, we realise that neither of us have tried the pasta, meaning another trip is compulsory in future weeks.
Service is excellent as you would expect from this type of informal Italian restaurant where charisma is part of the job description. It might be Friday but you get the feeling that every day of the week here feels similar. The wine list adds interest with plenty of wines from Italy in addition to Italian grape varieties grown in Australia. We try the Corinva Blend by Speri, a Valpolicella Classico from the north-east of Italy, and it marries beautifully with my duck gnocchi.
Tipo OO doesn’t merely add another great Italian restaurant to the Melbourne scene; there is something purposeful and focussed about this place which goes beyond many of its siblings. When you add to that the extremely reasonable pricing, it is a restaurant that I can easily see myself frequenting.