I’ve eaten at La Lucciola on Chapel St South Yarra many times in the previous five years, often before a movie at the Como cinema. The food has generally been good and reasonably priced, which is a rarity on Chapel St. I last ate there a week before Christmas and it may have been for the last time. The magic was gone.
My girlfriend and I were going to a show at Chapel off Chapel and wanted a casual dinner beforehand. We arrived at La Lucciola and ordered food and wine – a glass of pino grigio for her and a very good Michael Unwin Acrobat sangiovese for me. She ordered the prawn and zucchini risotto ($19) and I ordered the veal scallopini al funghi and vegetables ($23).
While the veal and vegetables were delicious as usual, the risotto was a major disappointment. It was a large serve of rather mushy rice cooked in a vegetable and herb stock, with some pieces of zucchini and four prawns in it. It had no prawn flavour (it should have been cooked in a seafood stock) and was not at all appetising.
I understand that to keep prices down and customers happy compromises need to be made, and a restaurant cannot deliver real risotto in ten minutes. Commercial cooking techniques mean that dishes are half prepared and waiting to be completed when ordered. However, the risotto was awful and was sufficient reason to make us not want to return.