What to order at Rosella Dining Room and Bar

Published on 11 May 2022

Photo: Rosella Dining Room and Bar's spaghetti all'assassina.

Prefer your vongole cooked and served in a paper bag? Then you're going to love Rocco Esposito’s Rosella Dining Room and Bar.

Occupying the former site of the much-loved Gertrude Street Enoteca, Bar Rosella's wide-ranging menu tells the tale of Esposito’s southern Italian hometown Puglia to a neighbourhood that speaks wine bar natively, but cleary always has room for one more given the success this one is having in its second location after moving up the road from Collingwood.

Whether you’re in and out with a mouthful of affettati or you’re hunkering down for a slow night of lamb and laughter, here’s what to order, as told by Rocco himself.

How about a drink? 
On the wine front, you can’t go past a Project 49 chardonnay from Beechworth. As for cocktails, you must have an Albachiara: housemade limoncello, Frangelico, lemon juice and Politini grecanico; also a Negroni Mandorlato, made with MCG gin, roselle, and amaretto; and a Mangia e Bevi (eat and drink): a warm cocktail made with blood orange Minello, lemon juice and lemon myrtle oil paired with snapper crudo on a squid ink cracker – delicious and 100 per cent Victorian.

I’m here for a good time not a long time.
Frisella, sardines and olive tapenade, washed down with either an Orvieto from Umbria or a blend of malvasia and fiano from Puglia.

Got anything light and fresh?
Snapper crudo, fennel and lemon from the cold section of the menu, or eggplant, goat's curd, hazelnut and currants from our hot section.

What if I like tasty food but don’t eat animals?
Spaghetti all’assassina (pictured) – already a favourite at Bar Rosella; fave e cicorie (an ode to simplicity); or our cime di rape, served solo with lemon juice and extra virgin olive oil.

Name the dish that best captures the Rosella Dining Room and Bar vibe. 
Calamarata: a mezzemaniche pasta cooked in a paper bag with mussels, vongole, prawns, snapper, a dash of prosecco and cherry tomatoes. It’s quite a theatrical dish, served in its own paper bag straight out of the oven. Once it’s on the table we cut the top off the paper bag to release an explosion of sea flavour: delicate yet hearty aromas.

Let’s go big. Let’s go crazy. What have you got for me?
Lamb shoulder with seasonal wild mushrooms. It’s the whole shoulder (enough to feed four people) served in its own braising jus, flavoured with white wine, tomato and bay leaf, alongside polenta with chestnuts and pine mushrooms. Then there’s the tagliata di manzo: a rump cap carved and served with broad beans and pecorino, with a little herb butter melted over the steak and some parsley oil for a bit of freshness.

And to close?
You can’t go passed our gelato al tartufo: a chocolate mousse ice-cream, with rosella-essence cherry, covered with cocoa nibs – very much like a sweet edible truffle; and tiramisu made with wattle seed and a Victorian coffee agave liquor from Echuca. Try these two with a Grand Rutherglen Muscat – heaven on a dining table. 

Rosella Dining Room and Bar, open Wed-Sat 11am-11pm; Sun 11am-5pm, 229 Gertrude St, Fitzroy, (03) 9419 2493, barrosella.com, @bar_rosella

You might also like