Carmine and Co is an authentic, family owned Italian restaurant that offers sincere, homemade food. Now located at Port Adelaide, the business has undergone many changes in both location and décor over their 49 years of service. Currently, Carmine and Melina are owners of the business and have been for 29 years and counting. Having only opened September 2015, Carmine & Co has a beautiful new restaurant aspect to share, and a new rustic yet entirely traditional menu.
The moment you step foot into the restaurant, you are mesmerised by the attention to detail in the styling and décor. It certainly does feel like a little Italy right here in our Adelaide. The chiseled Italian map on the brick wall that the Carmine and Co family completed themselves also adds a wonderful welcoming touch.
The trick with Italian cuisine is to not eat too much too fast. Being Italian myself, I know all too well the feeling of a food coma that lasts a week or two. The menu at Carmine and Co looked very promising and guests were eager to eat.
At the beginning of each serving, a short explanation about each dish was given. Each dish was also placed on boards or in bowls and were shared amongst guests. To start, all three appetisers from the menu were served at the same time.
We began with the Antipasto. It was beautifully presented and included some of Italy’s finest meats such as capocollo, prosciutto and mortadella, very appetising! Cheese, roasted capsicum, olives, grilled eggplant and fresh bread was also served on the long platter.
Without a doubt, the favourite appetiser was the Arancini rice balls filled with Bolognese sauce, peas, mozzarella and pecorino cheese. The outside layer was think and crispy while the inside was moist and tasty. Absolutely bellissimo!
The third appetiser on the menu was the Eggplant Parmigiana. Personally, I am not a huge fan of eggplant but I enjoyed the combination of eggplant and cheese. The eggplant itself has a soft texture which, to my surprise, I enjoyed.
A strong theme of the family owned restaurant was ‘our home is your home’ and ‘don’t stop eating, we’ll all get fat together’, which everyone found very humorous. For the entrées, three pasta dishes were served all offering something different.
First of the three dishes was the Spinach and Ricotta Cannelloni. Though the dish looked large, it wasn’t as filling as expected. The pasta was thin and the filling was very light and tasty. Although, it could have used a little more sauce and cheese.
The Spaghetti Meatballs with napolitana sauce looked absolutely mouthwatering and smelt delicious. The flavour was stronger than I expected it to be as the herb and spices hit was delightful. This particular dish also reminded me of my Nonna’s cooking.
Last was the Linguine Morton Bay Bugs served with fresh tomatoes in garlic, parsley, basic and white wine sauce. The seafood was well cooked and the white wine added an alternate flavour compared to the other entrees. This seafood sensation is definitely not one to miss.
By the time mains arrived, majority of guests were quite full, but like the Italian style we had to continue eating. All three mains were served on long wooden boards to share and looked very appealing to the eye.
First we tried the Stuffed Calamari cooked in Nonna’s homemade tomato sauce. The dish was indeed tasty but unfortunately the squid was slightly tough and chewy.
Next up was the restaurant’s signature dish, the Carmines Steak. The rib eye steak was char-grilled to perfection at a medium rare state, which made the meat moist and easy to eat. The meat was also topped with sautéed Spanish onion, mushrooms, a small amount of chilli, garlic and red wine glaze, which takes three days to prepare!
Of the three, the definite winner of the night was the Pollo Maryland chicken with Pistachio sauce. The chicken was moist and stuffed with fresh mozzarella cheese and wrapped in pancetta. All in all, the dish worked exceptionally well as a whole and had all the right flavours of salty, juicy and cheesy.
Last but certainly never least was the desserts. Though guests had to wait a slightly longer amount of time, the desserts were superb. Also unlike previous dishes, guests received their own dessert.
One of the two traditional Italian desserts served was homemade Tiramisu with strawberries and cream. The cake had the perfect biscuit to coffee ratio along with the right amount of cream that wasn’t at all sickening. It can be very easy to overdo the coffee flavouring with this type of dessert, so I was very impressed.
Zeppole, an Italian doughnut-like dessert covered in sugar, was also served with ice cream and a condensed strega lemon cream. What was once a traditional Italian sweet had been creatively transformed into a doughnut shape with a lemon twist. More importantly, it tasted incredible! The dough was light and fluffy and you could barely notice the alcohol in the cream.
The evening spent at Carmine and Co was a complete success. The service was outstanding and you really do feel apart of the Carmine family when dining. It was a night out that felt like a night in spent with incredible food and great company. We will certainly return.
Adelaide Food Central would like to thank everyone at Carmine & Co, as well as Grays PR, for organising a fantastic and memorable evening!
Words by Carina Stathis from Everything Adelaide
WHERE: 49 Commercial Rd, Port Adelaide