218 Chapel Street Prahran, Victoria 3181
|Opening hours||Sunday-Tuesday 8am-4pm; Wednesday-Saturday 8am-midnight (food until 10pm)|
|Prices||Moderate (mains $20-$40)|
|Payments||AMEX, Mastercard, Visa, eftpos|
|Phone||03 9510 8693|
Globe Cafe did all-day dining on this site from the mid-1990s through to late 2013, riding all the culinary waves and, according to my back-of-napkin guestimate, serving enough of their popular eggs benedict to fill an Olympic pool with hollandaise sauce. Mmm, swimming.
But Globe got tired and Osti sprang up in December under new owner Tim Kenyon (ex-Oscar Whyte in Armadale) who oversaw a refit in cool blue and Melbourne black. The all-day, easygoing outlook remains but there's more polish now, and the food from chef Luigi Buono (ex-Enoteca Sileno) is a satisfying mix of Italian classics and confident reworkings of the canon. The reliability of the food is pleasing. A simple dish well cooked is always better than a way-out concept badly executed.
My spatchcock (a small chicken) had golden-brown skin and juicy meat, speaking of careful, loving roasting and grilling. Braised radicchio, neatly turned asparagus and a corn fritter were apposite accompaniments. A sumptuous risotto came with a generous amount of Moreton Bay bug (shellfish) stirred with spicy tomato broth. The rice was properly soupy and sturdy. The dozen grazing dishes are perfect for shoppers and bar-hoppers wanting a breather. Scallops are topped with caramelised onion and wine-infused breadcrumbs, adding sweetness, acidity and texture to the pert, just-cooked mollusc.
An "ancient grain" salad stretches the concept by including just freekeh and lentils. It was topped with cotechino sausage, adding welcome spice and fat, but the dish would be better with a bit of freshness and crunch.
Desserts are button-pushers: one includes yoghurt panna cotta, chocolate mousse and stewed berries. It's a no-brainer plate-licker.
Rating: Three and a half stars (out of five).