171 Bay St
Port Melbourne, VIC 3207
03 9645 1568
After the girls left, I needed a bit of time to spend with myself and with the naughty foster kittens. So I deliberately left Saturday empty except for yet another brunch catch-up with Marc. He works crazy days, often on weekends. I help take his mind off things by us having spur-of-the-moment brunches on his mad days. It’s easy because he works in the same suburb where I live. Our meeting arrangement is simple, he walks down Bay St from office while I walk up Bay St from home and we meet wherever we do. It usually ends up near my home, cos I walk slower, lol.
Ciao Cielo (Italian: Hello Heaven) used to serve Italian gelato earlier this year, I didn’t even think they’d serve savoury meals. My initial impression of that place as “my local italian gelato bar” stuck. Gelato is a Summer necessity, and I even crave for it in Winter. Imagine my distress when Ciao Cielo’s vibrant gelato counter got replaced with darkwood tables and chairs in August. Where do I get my gelato fix now?!? *cry*
It eventually dawned on me as I walked by the place every week that the cosy café’s angle has changed. The focus now beams towards a succinct menu of good, honest Italian food. Marc has been here a number of times and, in his own words, he has “never ever ever been disappointed”. When it comes to food, Marc can be quite exuberant. =) And I felt a tad ashamed that someone who doesn’t live here knows my local eateries better than myself! With such a recommendation, I knew I had to give my “old gelato bar” a go.
Halfway through our brunch, I reached a simple conclusion. If anyone is visiting Port Melbourne and wants good Italian food, go to Ciao Cielo. Marc was right, the meal was stunning. Service was relaxed and wonderful. Our genuinely warm waitress spoke to us as if we were family. I didn’t mind the accompanying coffees too, my flat white was on the bitter side but nicely flavoursome.
Calamari Salad, with avocado, tomato and rocket $16. The deep fried calamari was fantastic, I could see tiny bits of fresh herbs in the batter. The other ingredients went well in a caesar-like dressing with a touch of mustard seeds.
Spaghetti Marinara, with fresh seafood, white wine and garlic $19. White wine and garlic sauce just goes soo much better with seafood than the traditional tomato-based marinara sauce. This dish had a perfect balance of fresh seafood, herbs, garlic, salt and white wine. I kept lapping up more and more of the sauce.
Churros, with dark Lindt chocolate. The churros were served perfectly hot and crispy, but we weren’t as fond of the chocolate. Marc said “it’s very Lindty”. Lol, evidently neither of us are particularly fond of the Lindt brand of chocolates.
Pictured here, a churro dipped in melted Lindt chocolate. Marc needs a manicure.
Here’s a picture of our shoes. Colourful friends for a sunny afternoon. Looking at the picture, it almost seems like I am too poor to afford shoelaces. : ) Marc had two glasses of white wine and two coffees. It was almost like he didn’t have to go into work! Swells popped by at the end of our meal as well. He had a milkshake which he liked, I personally found it very sweet. This impromptu brunch catch-up was sort of a goodbye to my friends. I’d be leaving for Singapore a week later. It will be a month-long family reunion. We parted with hugs and wished each other a good festive season and happy new year.