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The World Loves Vaporetto and TAP. Wines

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Out of all the many things Italians do well food and wine are at the top of the list.

Tucked away in just off of Glenferrie Road in Hawthorn, Vaporetto has delighted customers with an experience they won’t soon forget. Venetian cuisine is known for using exotic spices rooted in the monopoly Venice had on the spice trade until the 16th century. Those timeless recipes and blends allow Vaporetto to stand out from the crowd.

We started the night off with one of Vaporetto’s delicious signature cocktail, the Bellini, with crushed white peaches and topped up with Prosecco. And of course Prosecco is delicious on its own and the menu offers a few options including Vaporetto’s name sake, the N.V. Vaporetto Prosecco 'Brut' DOC.

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Venice is above all, a proud city of the sea so we were eager to start our meal with some seafood. If the server doesn’t beat you to it, ensure you find out what the feature items are for the evening as the options are always changing. First we tried one of the most popular entrees, the grilled calamari with Pine mushrooms, Jerusalem artichoke, smoked eel and farro.

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The second dish was the vanilla and citrus mackerel served with nettle puree, hay smoked beetroot, picked shallots and blueberries.

Both dishes hit the mark! The presentation was exquisite – vibrant colours of the beetroot and nettle made that dish pop and the calamari (from someone who doesn’t care for it) was remarkable. It could have been the artichokes and mushrooms that made it so tasty but this was probably the best dish of the night!

We were able to pair the seafood dishes with a beautiful glass of Pinot Grigio. This wasn’t just any wine, but in a system unique to Australia, the wine actually came from a tap! That’s right, the same way you can enjoy a pot of cider you can now do that with wine. The TAP. WINES system uses stainless steel wine cylinders which protects the wine from oxidisation and UV strike, prolongs its life, original character and complexity. The temperature is regulated so the Rosé, Pinot Grigio and Sangiovese are served at the perfect temperature with no risk of spoilage or cork taint.

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Seafood is weaved through most of the menu so expect to find creations such as squid-ink casarecce with tiger prawns, crustacean stock, cinnamon, fennel and bottarga. If you’re not feeling that adventurous there is a variety of dishes with rabbit, duck and beef. Our mains were less traditional but has a Venetian fingerprints all over.

One of the mains was the second special of the evening which was the beef and pork ragu, noodles served al dente.

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Then there was the Cape Grim, Scotch fillet served with some mixed greens and the legendary cauliflower al-forno with pancetta, hazelnut and pine nuts, parsley and truffled Pecorino.

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The crunch from the hazelnuts and pine nuts added a different breadth to what could sometimes been seen as a boring vegetable. Adding pancetta to the mix and I think cauliflower could have been a serving on its own. The steak was tender and cooked perfectly medium-rare and the tomato-based sauce for the ragu was right and hearty – a great pair with the pork and beef mince.

Since there is always room for dessert, we had to try the trio of Italian doughnuts with cinnamon, rosewater and orange soaking in custard and served with hazelnut gelati. It was the icing on the cake to an already spectacular evening.

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The beauty of Venetian food is the simplicity behind it. The dishes we ate were rich in flavour and the blend of spices was a match made in heaven. Venice is a place to make memories and Vaporetto gives you that as a great spot for groups, date night or even a solo dinner as they have seats right at the kitchen so you can watch all the action.

With a great location, superb customer service, and outstanding food, I give Vaporetto 4.5 gondolas out of 5.