Ripper pasta place



Pentolina, 2/377 Little Collins Street, Melbourne. Phone: 9606 0642

The place, the space, the back story, the food and the company …

Consider The Sauce’s supremely enjoyable visit to Pentolina evokes many memories.

For starters, so to speak, I recall imbibing a bowl of pasta at the same address many years ago – about 20, I think.

That, too, was a specialist pasta house.

These days, under the guidance of husband-and-wife team Matt and Julia Picone, old-school pasta is still very much the go, though the place certainly looks very different.



It’s classy and stylish, without being overbearingly so.

Matt was a barista at Pellegrini’s for the best part of two decades, and it is that sort spirit and vibe they are trying to foster at Pentolina.

And succeeding.

Justin is my CTS companion for this adventure.

We figure out rough timelines that strongly suggest that not only had we both enjoyed several – and maybe many – coffees made by Matt, but that we were also quite possibly sitting side by side while doing so on occasion.

Are we happy to be here as guests?


(Full disclosure below.)



Taking up pews at the window bench – good for watching the passing parade outside and for the taking of photographs – we are happy, too, to leave our leisurely lunch in the hands of the staff in the form of the $60 a head “feed me” menu.



We start with cured swordfish, fennel, grapefruit and pomegranate ($21) and …



… beef carpaccio with truffle cream and parmesan ($19).

There’s little for me to say about these – except that they are wonderful, simple, fresh and prepared with superb ingredients.

And they’re just the sort of thing we feel like.



We discover that we both have  something of an aversion to the oft-leaden arancini.

So we love these smaller cousins – Alessandra’s suppli (rice croquettes) with saffron and grana padano ($9).

They’re light and fluffy and beautifully fried.



Then it’s on to the pasta – all house-made.

Squid ink spaghetti with vongole ($28) is lovely, though the simple sauce of white wine and garlic (I think) is quite dry.



Matt’s spaghetti bolognese (ragu with beef, eggplant, zucchini, vermouth, $21) is good, too, though I think – nostalgic for the lusty gusto of the Pelligrini’s version – we both find it muted in both texture and flavour.



In that regard, the simple, righteous rigatoni amatriciana ($23) of pancetta, napoli, fresh chili and olives is a dead-set bullseye – and the pasta hit of the day.

The pasta, however, is just a tad too al dente for my tastes.

But let’s not quibble – this is ace.



Cannoli with ricotta, citrus and raisin ($3 each) are light and champions of their kind, with quite an unusual flavour and very crusty casings.



Justin confesses to not being much of a fan of panna cotta.

But even he is impressed by the Pentolina version with fresh berries ($13).

I love it to bits – so delicious.

I’ll use Justin’s pithy message to me later in the day as a summation: “Ripper lunch and ripper company!”

To which I’ll add: “Ripper place!”

(Consider The Sauce dined at Pentolina as guests of the management and we did not pay for our meals. We enjoyed a range of dishes chosen by the staff as part of the $60pp “Feed Me” deal. Pentolina management neither sought nor was granted any input, oversight or pre-publication access to his story.)


130 thoughts on “Ripper pasta place

  1. Thanks Kenny for the invitation! Delicious food… will definitely head back there another time as a paying customer. The one thing that sticks in my mind about the cooking (as we discussed at the time) was how consistently deft and subtle it all was, dish after dish. No ingredients overpowered others, everything was there for a purpose, and added the right amount of flavour. My only quibble was I thought the bolognese could have been heartier (a bit more red wine perhaps in the sauce) but the matriciana delivered on the heartiness factor in spades.


  2. Hidden from hustle of city,probably one of the few affordable pasta place,good vegetarian and most importantly home style plates.true gem in every way also quick service,I’m not paid advertiser but its my personal experience


  3. Like kensington, this inner west suburb didn’t escape from hard-hit gentrification.,some old buildings still standing yarraville with some survived minorities,


  4. You learn something new every day “trucky yarraville “☺☺for food truck,we have tons of food trucks in yarravile, raw and livestock carriers ☺


  5. Don’t they have something like highest truck pollution related deaths in Melbourne west,but yarraville is more than ,its actually pleasant place to dine in,great community. Its great yo know him and his son is healthy breathing well.


  6. yarraville should be ok, uber delivers atleast 3 suburbs outside from delivering point suburb. from footscray to yarravile is like 5 min drive on geelong rd or may be less


  7. Somali cafes in footscray are mostly ethiopian nationals,their rice is somewhat different to mainland ones in flemington but equally as good. Karibu and somali star probably some of the best somali sambusa in Melbourne.way to go footscray.


  8. tawakal jj you are right the somali star cafe very popular but location helps,suited heart of african mall with no competition around it. most somalians in that area are unmarked and marked somalian fast good kebab /burger joints.even that kulan no one knew it was somalian that is untill they introduced somali food.its recently that wider public accepted kulan as african place.


  9. any one can open a restaurant and paint african animals to reflect the africaness of the street.if the painting was black people in kulan,that would give a hint the owner or the place might be african.


  10. OK, as noted above, I really, really love the comments readers make. And I love how stories – even if they’re not specifically about Somalian eating places or the Somalian community – become venues for gossip, opinions, info and more about the inner west and its various strands of ethnic communities and food. But help me here, Somalian friends – what does “marked” mean??? 🙂


      • Unmarked can mean the restaurant could be presented ‘different ethnic groups ” while the owner is somali, for example you see turkish kebab and public thinks its turkish owned while the owner is somali. Usually it happens when owner tries to diverse the options for somali community or particularly targeting that non african community. But its very common areas with small size of somali population

        Liked by 1 person

      • Unmarked also could be used in areas or suburbs that are ” not so african friendly ” ie they don’t like refugees or newcomers, and it gives that small community apportunity to open businesses without the worry of backlash from wider non african community in that area.usually the seller(non african) and the buyer (somali ) its best interest of wider society in that suburb.


  11. We are young ugyhur family and we want open a restaurant but we are scared it may not last,i would love to do unmarked somalian type ,what is success rate


    • Jani you don’t need to unmarked if you have good size of ugyhur population in the the area you want open a restaurant. We have new new ugyhur restaurant in Ballarat rd.


    • Hi jani if you don’t have the numbers of ugyhur population,may be include some han Chinese plates on your order to do unmarked you need to drop all ugyhur elements from your restaurant.but first try mixed han & ugyhur dishes.


    • jani do some works alright. We do ethiopian/somalian some times to attract the two communities also use mixed staff from han/ugyhur so han customers can feel home place


    • Jani you will alright do try it all ugyhur meals ,if required number not walking in it means the population ugyhur is limited. But if you want do unmarked particular Caucasian eatery, be prepared to be in kitchen at 5am,they eat early this community, biscuits, muffin, sandwiches and coffee must be on tables at 6am,don’t do larger quantity ,keep it light, the interior must be hip,use one or two long tables of 8 persons could share from all corners,they are sharing tables with strangers also newspapers on side of tables,if you want target younger white community get coffee artist.


      • The number of long tables you need depends on the size of your cafe. But you need at least one long table in the middle of the cafe,they like sharing tables with strangers when eating their breakfast,lunch


      • You forget the cheap word,food must be more expensive than immigrant eateries. If jani want to do unmarked ethnic its fine cheap food or large portions of plates


    • Jan don’t be scared, do research on community you doing on unmarked what they like and dislike,its like mouse-trap,if you have right onions and cheese you can attract and keep the regulars


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