Potenza Ristorante, Richmond

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MELBOURNE | Potenza Ristorante is an Italian restaurant on Bridge Road owned and operated by Orlando Lobosco (head chef) and Bronwyn Paltoglou (front of house). We were invited for dinner one night, and couldn’t say no to the chance to sample some rustic Italian food.

Located in the space that was formerly home to Latin American restaurant El Atino & co, the space has been made into something with a more homely feel – bright colours and lights have given way to earthier tones and warm lighting. On our arrival we had a bit of a chat with Bronwyn before Orlando popped out of the kitchen to say hi. This wasn’t just because we were invited to the restaurant either – throughout the night Orlando was constantly popping out of the kitchen, delivering dishes to customer’s tables and having chats with them.

The name Potenza is a tribute to Orlando’s hometown of Potenza, a city and comune in the Southern Italian region of Basilicata. Orlando draws upon family recipes and the food of the region to create a menu full of simple, fresh, seasonal produce driven dishes. It’s a small menu, with a selection of signature dishes and around 10 daily specials that rotate depending on what ingredients are particularly good at the markets on a given day. For drinks, its a selection of Italian and Australian wines, along with beer, spirits and cocktails.

We started with marinated steamed asparagus with olive oil and red wine vinegar dressing. Orlando told us that this was his mother’s recipe, exactly the same as he’d grown up with right down to the house made red wine vinegar dressing. It as fresh, tangy and delicious. As much as possible is made from scratch on site, including the deliciously fiery chilli oil, served in a silver bowl packed with whole chillies.

While there is pasta on the menu at Potenza, it’s refreshing to see that’s there’s a focus on a variety of dishes, not just the usual favourites. If you want pizza, this isn’t the place for you. Toasted ciabata, topped simply with house marinated grilled capsicums and a drizzling of extra virgin olive oil, are fantastic, as are the dense, moist meatballs which are served with passata and wilted spinach. Gnocchi, which is made on site daily and served with Napoli sauce, is also outstanding. We ended our meal with one of the specials – fresh fish topped with tomato, capers, olives, onions, and fresh herbs. It was just as delicious as everything else we tried.

Throughout the meal, Bronwyn and Orlando’s passion was apparent. They were both constantly out and about on the floor, chatting to customers and making them feel at home and the mixed crowd of old and young, couples and singles, certainly seemed to be enjoying themselves. We know that we had a lovely time, and were constantly mentioning that this was the kind of restaurant that reminded us why we like to eat out. The interior isn’t going to win any design awards, and food isn’t designed for maximum Instagramability. What you’re getting at Potenza is simple, honest food that’s cooked with love and tastes fantastic, and the feeling that you’ve been welcomed into a friend’s house. All of the things that actually matter.

Potenza Ristorante

366 Bridge Road
Richmond
Victoria 3121
Australia

Telephone: (03) 9427 7152
E-mail: [email protected]
Website

Open
Tue – Thu: 6:00pm to 9:30pm
Fri – Sat: 6:00pm to 10:30pm
Sun: 11:0am to 2:30pm

Potenza Ristorante Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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Paul
Paul
Paul founded The City Lane back in 2009 as a place to share photos of his travels around Europe with friends and family. The City Lane might have changed quite a lot since those early days but one thing that’s remained constant is Paul’s passion for food, travel and culture, and a desire to photograph and write about his experiences. Paul has a strong inquisitive nature that drives him to look beneath the surface in order to discover what really makes a city and its people tick, and what better way to do this than over a good meal or drink, with a city’s locals, at places that people who live in that city actually frequent. Paul is also a co-host of The Brunswick Beer Collective, a podcast that may or may not actually be about beer.

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