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There are dark clouds and then there are really dark clouds.  The former being your typical Vancouver rain cloud portraying a dull grey look.  The latter can best be described as grey-black and ominous.  That’s what I saw while driving home from work on Monday evening.  Actually, it looked like a thick strip of grey-black on top of a canvas of dull grey clouds.  Looking into this spread of 3-D darkness reminded me of scary movies.  You know, the type where they start off the movie showing a faraway place (castle, cottage, house) that looks haunted and shrouded by thunderclouds.

I think my imagination went a little overboard there.  I suppose the wet snow and sleet helps to lighten up those clouds after releasing their goods.  I’d try to take a photo of it but with my cheap-y camera, it would just look… dark.

Thankfully while I was in Melbourne, I did not see this particular dark-grey cloud scheme but we did see the dull grey ones when we left New Kum Den Restaurant.  Ready to walk off our “oversized snack,” V wanted to show me some of the other important buildings around Melbourne.  We walked up Little Bourke Street and over to Parliament House.  Being a typical tourist, I took my “I-was-here” photo in front of the Parliament House.  Afterwards, we walked towards Carlton Gardens and Melbourne Museum.

Parliament of Victoria, Melbourne

Parliament of Victoria, Melbourne

Melbourne Museum

Melbourne Museum

Royal Exhibition Building

Royal Exhibition Building

See those grey clouds in the sky?  Yes, it rained.  V and I ducked into the Melbourne Museum for a bit and then decided to trek back to the hotel before dinner.  Rather than walk all the way, we opted to ride the City Circle (free tourist tram).  Did I mention it was raining?  The rain was coming down in buckets so it was nice to do some “sightseeing” without needing to walk in the rain.  There are, however, obvious limitations to what you can see from inside the tram:

It's raining...

It’s raining…

Front seat view while riding the tram

Front seat view while riding the tram

After spending our day doing touristy things, I was looking forward to some fine dining at Il Bacaro Cucina e Bar.  V dined here before (a few times?) and highly recommended the restaurant.  We arrived for our early reservation and in fact, we were the first diners to arrive.  We were greeted and seated by very friendly servers.  Unfortunately, my camera wasn’t suitable for the lighting in the restaurant and my photos did not turn out well.  In fact, it went from barely there to dark as the meal progressed …  but I’ll include them anyways.

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my riesling and V's sauvignon blanc

my Riesling and V’s Sauvignon Blanc

I do not recall where our wines were from… I seem to think V’s was from New Zealand.  Regardless, it doesn’t matter, the wines were good.  Fine dining with a fine wine.

Thinking back to our meal, V and I ordered A LOT of food.  Especially for two girls who had just downed our congee and dumplings only 3 hours earlier.  We did do an hour of exercising (walking counts, I think) between the two meals but … well, have a look (or just count) and you decide.

V's appetizer oyster

V’s appetizer oyster

My appetizer: asparagus wrapped in prosciutto

My appetizer: asparagus wrapped in prosciutto

V's favourite Thistle quadretti with braised wagyu beef cheek, baby carrots and parmigiano reggiano

V’s favourite Thistle quadretti with braised wagyu beef cheek, baby carrots and parmigiano reggiano

My order of pappardelle

My order of pappardelle

V's Secondi fish order...

V’s Secondi fish order…

My patate al forno  (roasted potates)

My patate al forno (roasted potates)

Our shared veggie plate... insalata di rucola e finocchio con filetti d’aran (rocket and shaved fennel salad)

Our shared veggie plate… insalata di rucola e finocchio con filetti d’aran (rocket and shaved fennel salad)

So…o, what do you think?  Did we order a lot of food?  The food was phenomenal and the service was impeccable.  It was a nice way to relax after a day of walking around town in the rain.  V and I finished most of our food except my side order of roasted potatoes.  They were delicious but I was expecting half the size of that heaped up dish.  When the server asked if we wanted dessert, I looked at the dessert menu longingly but I knew that physically, it was not an option.  Maybe in an hour or so, but definitely not at that time.

Did I mention that the service is excellent?  When V stepped away from the table mid-meal, the server came by and covered her meal for her (to keep it warm?).  Perhaps I don’t go to too many fine dining restaurants, but of all the times I have been, this is the first I’ve seen it happen.

On a side note, unfortunately my photos turned out really dark and do not give the food any justice.  Having said that though, there isn’t much the internet cannot help you with.  I noticed my pappardelle with lamb ragu dish is not showing on the menu now and not wanting to mix up my dish with V’s Thistle Quadretti, I turned to the internet for assistance.  My goal was to find a picture to verify the appearance of the Thistle Quadretti or of the Pappardelle, then I could figure out which photo is what.  In my search, I came across this interesting blog, Eat Almost Anything, with several blog posts about Il Bacaro.  There are great photos of the various orders of pasta, desserts and even the interior of the restaurant.  Lunch does seem like a better time to be taking photos.

If I return to Melbourne, Il Bacaro will definitely be one of the places on my dining list!

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