by James Ridenour
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Neil Perry’s newest Melbourne venture is the Italian masterpiece Rosetta.

Located in the Crown complex with a commanding position next to the Yarra River, the restaurant is first off the rank as you wander downriver from Queensbridge Street.  The restaurant harks back to a luxurious era of fine dining, while most new restaurants are pairing away at the ceremony, atmosphere and experience of fine dining, Rosetta is bucking the trend.  Perry has gone all out with a glamorous and unabashedly elegant restaurant.   There is something special about getting dressed up and enjoying an evening out in a special restaurant and Rosetta is the perfect place to do this.

My favourite component of the restaurant is the al fresco terrace, easily Melbourne’s best outdoor dining space.  Views of the Yarra abound in this luxurious and chic space.  Here again the usual thing would be to try and enclose this area so that in winter it’s more appealing.  Fortunately Perry has chosen an outdoor space that’s free, airy and perfect from spring to autumn.  No doubt heaters and enclosures of some type will be incorporated in winter.  I just hope that whatever’s done it’s not permanent as the beauty of this space should remain unmarred for the majority of the year.

The food and service are exactly as you would expect, excellent.  The menu is Italian but without being region specific.  This allows the diner to have a culinary experience that travels the entirety of Italy in one seating.  Clearly the menu is made up of Perry’s favourites and is shows.

General Manager Vanessa Chrichton has once again overseen all the operational details to ensure your experience is nothing less than superb.  Vanessa has provided my favourite restauranteurs quote for the year, “the Agnolotti alla Plin is a life altering experience” and she is right on the money.  It is a must try along with the home-made ricotta which is freshly made on premise daily.  The ricotta is bound to ruin any other ricotta you may try as the silky and creamy texture is unmatched in Melbourne dining.  All the dishes we sampled were delicious.  We moved through a sharing menu that encompassed ricotta with tomato, prosciutto and nectarine, agnolotti, king fish, lamb and rabbit.

My pick is to try several dished amongst friends as you will no double find many tantalising options in this large and diverse menu.

Rosetta mains range from $39 to $55 and the pasta dishes range from $19 to $65.

Rosetta is located in the Crown Complex at 8 Whiteman Street, Southbank and can be contacted on Tel 03 8648 1999.

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