“If I start feeling down I’ll gorge myself on pasta. That usually does the trick. It’s the Italian blood in me.” – Natalie Imbruglia
Tiamo, Ti amo. Tiamo is considered an Italian institution on Lygon St, offering respite from the vexatious spruikers and tourist trap restaurants located on the south end. Here you know you are in good hands when the wine is poured into short tumblers and is poured in doses of 500ml.
Being one of the few restaurants on Lygon St that lures its patrons back, a pack of hungry table-waiters can usually be found out the front. Thankfully there are two Tiamo branded restaurants side-by-side which offer similar, if not the same, menu options.
We immediately scored a seat out the front just before 6pm on a Friday night, so it is worth swinging by early. We ordered a carafe of Cabernet Sauvignon which arrived in the form of a crisp red.
Across the way, I was suffering food envy with the mountain of beef sauce proudly sitting atop several delicate layers of creamy béchamel and bolognaise sauce. With addition of copious amounts of parmesan cheese, this was the epitome of comfort food and perfect for a dreary, chilly evening.
In front of me, there was a wonderful entanglement of pasta, eggplant and small, garlic-laden meatballs. The Maccheroni della Zia was so flavourful. I am not usually one to order pasta when I eat out because I like to think I am fairly accomplished in pasta-cooking, however, if I was going to order any pasta dish, it would have to be this. The meatballs were so moist and the large cylinders of pasta was perfectly al-dente. Using the crunchy garlic bread to mop up the remnants of Napoli sauce was exactly the Italian experience I yearned for.
Tiamo is bustling, and it is bustling for several reasons. The food here is delicious, the service quick and the people watching on this end of Lygon St is unbeatable. Pro-tip; If your wine isn’t being served in tumblers like proper nonna-style, go to Tiamos.