• Il Caminetto (Moonee Ponds)

Seeming Italian is not just about the accents… although it certainly helps. Il Caminetto is an authentic pizzeria and pasta bar on Pascoe Vale Road, Moonee Ponds. It is relaxed, but clean. Casual, but stylish. Great for kids, or couple wanting something romantic. Really it seems Il Caminetto ticks all the right boxes.

The front is slightly more casual, with light pouring in from the square framed windows on its corner spot. Where as the back room has a slightly more cosy feel. The vibe is fun with the staff efficiently moving about and pronouncing all the dishes names like they know what they mean.
And they do! This place is serious about its food and its culture.

We had been invited to try the new menu. With plenty of vegetarian, vegan and gluten free option on the menu, we were in for a real treat.

To begin we were treated to a suite of entrees: eggplant parmigiana, mushroom and taleggio arancini and caprese salad.

The eggplant was delicious. It was heavily crumbed, fried then baked in layers with rich tomato. It had the right amount of salt and cheese on top.

Mark found this eggplant too tomatoey, his favourite was the arancini. The rice was perfectly cooked, dense without being gluggy.  The taleggio gave a fun aged flavour.

The caprese salad was fresh mozzarella, sliced tomatoes and a sprinkling of dried Italian herbs. The tomatoes were firm and thinly sliced.

Mains were two to share: trofie al pesto and cassunziei all’ampezzana.

The pesto smelt so good! The pasta was fresh and cooked al dente. Again, the balance of garlic, cheese and basil was just right. Little cubes of potato added extra interest. These were only just cooked, so they held a slight crunch with a juicy, creamy taste. This was a really delicious dish.

It seemed Mark and I were good eating buddies tonight, because his favourite was the other pasta (leaving more of the pesto for me 😊 ). This was parcels of pasta filled with beetroot and parmesan. It was served with burnt butter, sage and poppy seeds. The beetroot had been cooked and pureed. The burnt butter was subtle after the taste of the pesto.

Neither dish needed extra parmesan as it was already in the cooking.

Il Caminetto also serves fabulous beer. Aperol spritz and wine is on tap. Beer is by the bottle. Mark loved the Theresianer Pilsner.  It wasn’t overly fruity or malty, light and just refreshing with balanced hops. It was his first time trying an Italian Pilsner, and he was very impressed.

I had not heard of O’Brien or Rebellion Brewery before. They are based in Ballarat and their Pale Ale is gluten free. It was light with a tropical finish. Mark did not like this one, he found it too yeasty. I loved it.

The Birra Antoniana was like nothing I had ever tasted. The end was floral and honey – certainly an interesting beer.

Dessert was tartufo and chocolate mascarpone pie.

The tartufo was rich hazelnut gelato with a chocolate centre and marzipan biscotti crumbs. It was served with a light custard and berry coulis. The custard was so delectably light and frothy. This dessert looked delicious and tasted even better.

The pie was with a soft crust and spiced with cocao. The centre was baked mascarpone and melted chocolate. It was beautifully presented and was reminiscent of a homemade breakfast treat made by nonna on a farm in the middle of Sicily. This was served warm.

Mark commented that the presentation of dessert was unexpected:

“How would you class this place? Like it’s pizza but the desserts are presented like Vue de Monde.”

The owner, Andrea, was very friendly with everyone. You can see that the locals become regulars.

If we lived closer, we would definitely be here often.

Il Caminetto
114 Pascoe Vale Road
Moonee Ponds 3039
03 9370 6884

Opening hours:
Monday to Thursday, 5:00pm to 9:30pm
Friday to Sunday, 12:00pm to 9:30pm

Il Caminetto Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato