Carlisle Street is bathed in late-autumn sun and it is buzzing with locals and visitors. We stroll through this crowd to Ilona Staller for lunch. It is a special lunch for us and we are early. We wander into their lovely Art Deco entrance and they let us in and give us a menu to study while they bustle around to get the restaurant ready for their noon opening. As we are first in we have a choice of tables. Being early turns out to be a good move because the restaurant soon fills up.
We have been here before see my blog here, and we have such pleasant memories of that time we were eager to try it again.
On this day Ilona Staller has a lunch time special. Any pasta for $15.00. For some reason, which seems a bit shorted sighted now, we both chose the same pasta dish Spaghetti ‘mazza’ -mussels, pipis, calamari, fish, king prawns, garlic, chilli, white wine. I ordered mine without the chilli as we planned to drink wine and I find the chilli- heat often spoils the taste of the wine. Beer is much better with chilli and curry. A personal foible and not one many people appear to agree with – I am often out with people who are eating hot chilli dishes and sipping their wine; not a thought in their head about ordering a beer. I believe that is why so many Asian countries make great beer.
We drank a Gemstone, Merlot from South Australian. It was good drinking on a sunny autumn afternoon in those relaxed surroundings. The sea food spaghetti was delicious. I particularly liked the pipis – not something I get to eat very often.
How did it compare with our previous visit to Ilona Staller? The food was memorable, the atmosphere stylish and relaxing. The Art Deco styling gives a slightly different vibe and one that is easy to sink into and admire. One slight difference, the service wasn’t quite as good. It was as if they were a waiter down. I imagine it is very hard to know just how many walk-ins there will be and someone may have called in sick. This lunch time was very busy. Such a good pasta deal!
282-284 Carlisle Street, Balaclava
Train: It is opposite the Balaclava Station (Sandringham Line)
Tram: 16, or 3 . The stop is outside
Kitchen open 12.00pm to 10.00pm seven days a week
Check out the web site for lunch specials
They are advertising kid’s meals for $12.