Where is Madame Brussels Lane? Just off Lonsdale, up the hill from Exhibition. Till yesterday, I had not been through this courtyard of exciting lunchtime eateries.
We chose Babbo because it was the busiest, a good sign.
There is no menu, it is all visual, explained the lady before she walked us through what we could order. She pronounced the dishes in genuine Italian and touched us on the elbows to make us feel included in the conversation despite the other not being able to hear when her head was turned.
“Then there is the orecchiette, which is a pasta shaped like an ear, with pesto and ricotta. This one is vegetarian.”
Did she know I was vegetarian? Or does she extend this service to everyone? We got excited from the romance of her Italian and enthusiastic demeanour. Sitting on one of the last remaining outdoor tables, we eagerly awaited our food with high hopes.
The orecchiette was delicious. The pasta was homemade and fresh, the texture perfect. The pesto of fresh basil, garlic and oil was topped off with a large chunk of ricotta. It did not need the parmesan and chilli oil that the waitress placed on our table without being asked, but I could not resist all the same. Bread was obligingly served as an accompaniment.
“How was it?” The waitress returned, excited to know what we thought.
“Cibo Con Amore” is not a rhetorical phrase here. Our meal was delightful and we agreed that this was a lucky find to visit again soon.
Madame Brussells Lane
50 Lonsdale Street
03 9662 3334