All smiles as the dining reviewing year begins

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Mezze maniche… created with slow-cooked, milk-braised pork with chilli. Photo: Wendy Johnson

“Molto showcases classic Italian cuisine served with a modern finesse. Many items are made by hand and in the traditional Italian way,” writes dining reviewer WENDY JOHNSON

“IN heavenly pizza we crust” – this motto, in white neon lights and hung proudly on a wall at Molto Italian, Kingston Foreshore, makes you smile. 

Wendy Johnson.

And smiles are what Molto wants from its friendly vibe, yum food and delicious wines.

It was time for dinner, and we decided to kickstart this year’s “CityNews” reviews by heading to Molto, in part to celebrate its Award for Excellence 2020 (ACT) win at the Restaurant and Catering Awards. 

When we arrived, some guests were out front relaxing on bright orange beach sling chairs nestled under big, bright-orange umbrellas, which Molto has set up for a bit of fun. It’s a super spot to enjoy a pre-dinner drink. 

We settled into our table, scoring a perfect possie for people-watching, and explored the menu. Molto showcases classic Italian cuisine served with a modern finesse. 

Many items are made by hand and in the traditional Italian way. Pastas are hand cut, for example, and traditional Neapolitan wood-fired pizzas are crafted with love (dough is set aside to rise for 48 hours). Molto worships quality, seasonal ingredients. 

Wood-fired camberi… plump prawns, all the more exciting with nduja dressing and salmoriglio. Photo: Wendy Johnson

We couldn’t resist the wood-fired camberi from the stuzzichini (starters section). Beautifully plated, the plump prawns were all the more exciting with nduja dressing and stunning salmoriglio ($23).

Cappelletti… little parcels of pasta stuffed with prawns, lemon zest and served with a seafood bisque. Photo: Wendy Johnson

The small but mighty specials board was enticing indeed and my friend settled on the cappelletti ($36). The little parcels of pasta (similar to ravioli) were stuffed with prawns, zingy lemon zest and served with a flavoursome seafood bisque. The cappelletti was worth every bite.

I struggled to decide what to order, but was convinced to try the mezze maniche (which I will forever be thankful for). The dish is created with slow-cooked, milk-braised pork with chilli ($32). It’s subtle in some ways but not so in others, with the chilli making its own statement. The pork was wonderfully tender and the pasta cooked “just so”.

The crunchy, colourful radicchio salad… with fennel and walnuts. Photo: Wendy Johnson

With mains we enjoyed a crunchy and colourful radicchio salad with fennel and walnuts ($11).

Molto’s wine list is carefully curated and we indulged in the Matteo Braidot Pinot Grigio from Italy ($14 glass, $35 carafe and $59 bottle).

We were too full at the end of our meal on this visit, but will be back soon for Molto’s famous “nonna’s tiramisu” ($17). Or perhaps the torta di cioccolata served with dehydrated raspberries, raspberry fairy floss and sorbet ($17).

Molto was clever through the crazy days of covid, when things got really bad for hospitality. It adapted operations, sold retail goodies and ramped up takeaway. It’s great that they did, and succeeded with their efforts. The Kingston Foreshore is all the better for Molto’s presence.

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Wendy Johnson
Wendy Johnson: Food reviewer for Canberra CityNews magazine since 2004, covering stories for true foodies to digest.

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