Melbourne’s vegans are in for a real treat this week, with Tutto Bene turning things up for World Vegan Day. From 1-7 November, Italian home chef Nadia Fragnito will step into the kitchen to create plant-based home-style Italian fare that could turn even the most dedicated carnivore to vegetables.
The series of special dishes show us that just because you’re vegan doesn’t mean that you have to miss out on indulgent Italian cuisine. Chef Nadia and Tutto Bene’s talented kitchen take us straight from Melbourne to Southern Italy without missing a beat.
Good vegan food is when you don’t realize you’re eating plant-based food at all, and Tutto Bene’s impressively authentic cuisine is a classic example of this. Getting started with the vegan calamari (cleverly disguised oyster mushrooms flavored with vegan fish cause and wahami flakes) is a great introduction to the skill inside the kitchen. Every aspect screams genuine seafood, even the texture. If you’ve not eaten meat in a while, make sure you steel yourself for this clever imitation.
The next courses are Lasagne with a walnut mince, homemade pasta sheets and an unbelievably creamy bechamel, and the venue’s famous risi e bisi – risotto – deftly converted to a vibrant, cruelty-free recreation. And then there’s dessert. A vegan tiramisu that could trick even Nona into thinking it was the traditional original, this dish is made with love and attention to detail. Steeped in tradition, this dessert could convert the unconvertable and is the centre of Nadia’s upcoming masterclass, where you’ll get to learn how to make the wonderful creation yourself. We worry that if we learnt how to make it ourselves we would eat nothing else ever again.
The food is rich and comforting, which is exactly what Chef Nadia says Italian should be. “‘We don’t miss out’ is what I want people to feel” Fragnito explains. A longtime vegan, Nadia wants to reconnect with her Southern Italian roots, and we think she is doing her heritage proud.
Now Tutto Bene hasn’t forgotten the other half of a good Italian meal – the wine.
A range of vegan wines have been brought in to accompany your meal. For the aficionado, the lengthy and detailed wine list will be an exciting exploration – taking a wine trip through Italy is easy, with the wines sorted by region.
Surrounded by natural wood textures, candlelight and smooth jazz, with the glittering Yarra River below, you could be forgiven for feeling as if you’re settling in for dinner with family and friends in Southern Italy instead of dining in the middle of one of Melbourne’s most renowned dining districts. The friendly Italian staff are bursting with character and further sink you into the illusion.
Showing Melbourne that a plant-based diet can still include luscious Italian treats, Tutto Bene is saving the world once cruelty-free tiramisu at a time.
Tutto Bene’s World Vegan Week dinners kick off 1-7th Nov
Visit http://www.tuttobene.com.au/ for more information
The tiramisu masterclass takes place 1st Nov, $85pp
Mid Level Southgate, Melbourne
Terrazza: 10.30am – close
Lunch: 12.00 – 3.00pm
Dinner: 5.30pm – close
Written by Michelle Payne
Photography by Sean Anderson