A couple of weeks ago, 332 Manhattan opened up, predictably enough, under the Manhattan building over on the south side of Civic. Somewhat interesting story here, I knew that 332 Manhattan was brewing coffee using Lonsdale Street Roasters beans so I’ve been meaning to go there for a brunch at some point. One day after work, I was walking around Civic aimlessly and stumbled upon 332 Manhattan and realised that it was actually open for dinner too! For some reason I just naturally assumed it was a brunch only place so this was pretty shocking, I had nothing better to do, so here’s a little picture of dinner at 332 Manhattan.
Yeah, it wasn’t that interesting a story. I know.
Walking inside, the first thing that hit me was how cool the place was, it’s definitely got a hipster vibe but come on, 1. the place has numbers in its name and 2. it’s named after a place in New York, so of course it’s going to be full hipster, the best part is it actually kind of pulls it off! The restaurant kind of doubles as a cool supermarket of sorts, where you can buy Adore tea, tea pots, jams, truffles goods, oils, and muesli from the Muesli Bar. High quality stuff, and it’s exactly the kind of goods you’d expect from a place like this.
One thing I definitely really appreciated about the decor at 332 Manhattan was that it was hipster in the best way possible. That is, the salt shakers have cool little labels (as above), the walls and bench were nicely hip, yet the tables and chairs themselves were actually high quality, decent things to use. For me, it’s honestly gotten to the point where I see a place that has padded milk crates for chairs and tables made out of shipping spindle rope things and just think to myself ‘I can’t believe I’m paying $20 for the privilege of eating on something that was essentially thrown away at one point.’ So plus points on investing where appropriate, we had a long night here, so I definitely appreciated the comfort.
Anyway, less complaining about things that don’t matter, and more food pictures and rambling about how much I liked it.
Our first entree for the night was the Pork belly ($18), slow roasted with balsamic, martini apple puree and rhubarb relish. First thing that struck me when this came out was purely how big it was considering it was only an entrée! I was expecting 332 Manhattan to be a pretty high priced endeavour, and was pretty pleasantly surprised on that front. What can I say about pork belly? I absolutely love it, and could eat it 5 times a day if heart attacks were medically abolished from the world. The crackling skin was done pretty perfectly, it was incredibly crispy and really fun to eat, the only issue I’d say is that a very small portion of it (roughly 5%) was a bit burnt, and you could taste it when it was there. Didn’t hurt the experience too much, but it bears mentioning. The flesh itself was incredibly soft and tender, and I appreciated the fact that there was a lot of actual pork flesh instead of just fat. I love fat as much as the next person (maybe even more) but there’s nothing worse than eating a slab of pork belly that’s 80% fat.
With that said, this was a delightful start.
Our second entrée was the Fresh mozzarella and tomato salad ($14) with rocket and basil pesto. This was a really fresh dish and helped us not feel so bad about our heavy mains coming (just a ton of pasta). They definitely weren’t skimping out on the mozzarella like I feared they would. There was plenty for the whole dish and biting into each one was just absolutely fantastic, though you should keep in mind that I love fresh buffalo mozzarella and it’s really not too hard to impress me with it if you just give it to me. The tomatoes were really quite pleasant and sweet, with the basil pesto balancing everything else out.
Something that annoyed me (that truthfully I should have saw coming based on the title of this dish) is the sheer amount of rocket in the dish. I truly don’t understand everyone’s love affair with rocket, since it’s included (on its lonesome no less!) on just about every salad that can be purchased these days. I understand kale, I understand bone broth, and I understand quinoa. I will never understand rocket. In hindsight, it’s a bit unfair to focus my rocket hate on this one dish in this particular restaurant, it was really a nice dish and definitely not as much rocket as I’ve seen other people chuck on their salads, I just hate rocket. But everyone else on our table really liked this dish, so clearly, its just my hatred of rocket.
Our last entrée was the Arancini rice balls ($12) with mozzarella cheese and spicy tomato sauce. These were really delightful and I definitely recommend them to anyone out there that likes a good arancini. The rice here was flavoured in a bunch of herbs and spices that I’ll probably never be able to identify, let’s just say it definitely did not taste like standard white rice. There wasn’t very much mozzarella in this dish honestly, I’d say it’s a 70/30 split between rice and mozzarella and in hindsight it’s probably better this way, the rice gives off a lot of flavour and the mozzarella just gives the texture a lovely smoothness to contrast the crumbing on the outside. The spicy tomato sauce was really not spicy at all, so good news for any softies out there (like me!) and to be honest there wasn’t very much of it. I would’ve liked more of the tomato sauce, but all in all, this was a really nice dish, and one I wouldn’t have trouble recommending to anyone.
Our first main of the night was the Spaghetti with pork belly ($20) with capers and spicy tomato sauce. I didn’t realise that 332 Manhattan was essentially an Italian restaurant when I walked in, but upon looking at the menu it became pretty apparent that this is what it specialises in (for dinner at least), so of course, pasta was the order of the day! This was a very traditional, simple and rustic pasta that didn’t strive to break new ground, but it didn’t need to. Really delicious blends of pork, capers and a rich tomato sauce, flavours that traditionally go really well together so it’s no surprise to see them being a hit here. One thing I noticed was that the sauce wasn’t just placed on the pasta right at the end. The sauce flavours were infused into the pasta itself, and it was mixed through really well, so it seems the pasta and sauce were thrown together and cooked for a little bit to ensure that this happened. I really appreciate places that do that, it ensures that eating the actual dish isn’t a painful endeavour of ensuring there’s enough sauce to pasta ratio on your fork. You can just enjoy whatever mouthful you’re lucky enough to end up with.
Really nice dish, that would fit in perfect at any Italian restaurant.
Our second main of the night was the Pappardelle with wagyu bolognese sauce ($21) and parmigiano scales. Another relatively simple yet delicious dish. This is essentially a really upscale bolognese so if you’ve ever had pasta before, you’ve probably had this, or at least a really bogan version of this. There’s something interesting when you have a dish you’ve had a hundred times, but with incredible ingredients for every element, and fresh pasta for the base. It kind of ruins you and makes it hard to go back to eating the dish the old way. Bastards. Anyway, I really enjoyed this, I love a good bolognese and this was truly a wonderful one. One thing I want to give particular praise to is the choice of pappardelle for this dish, because a bolognese sauce with all its loose mincy bits and thick sauce is actually kind of hard to eat when you have to deal with a slick round pasta as well. Flat makes things infinitely easier to eat, and makes this all the more enjoyable.
I know I haven’t given too much useful information here but I don’t know what to say, it’s just a bolognese, done really really well.
Our last main was the Risotto of the day ($24) (prawns and zucchini with cherry tomatoes). I was initially concerned when this came out because of how orange it looked, I was a bit afraid it was going to be way too tomatoey and sour. Those fears were thankfully unfounded, and this was one of the better risotto’s I’ve ever had. All the flavours were perfectly balanced, it definitely wasn’t too sour, and every ingredient played its part in the total dish.
Something I’m a big sucker for when it comes to risotto is the texture, and this risotto definitely had great texture. It was smooth and velvety, with the cherry tomatoes adding a pop of sweetness and going down just as easily as everything else. I’m not normally a fan of zucchini, but in this dish they worked really well, breaking up the risotto so it didn’t feel entirely like baby food, but still being relatively soft so it didn’t ruin the texture like peanuts or anything. Lastly, the prawns were cooked pretty much perfectly. They of course, didn’t really add to the creamy texture of the risotto (a creamy prawn would be pretty gross), but they broke it up in a way that I really enjoyed. They were bitey, firm and covered in a lovely tomato sauce that was just wonderful.
To finish our night off, we ordered a couple teas, a Peppermint Green tea, and an Aussie Breakfast ($4.50). The tea’s that are served here at 332 Manhattan are Adore Tea leaves so I won’t go into too much detail about how it was, I’m not a huge tea nerd but I enjoyed these, so take that for whatever it’s worth.
So that’s that then, a really nice night, and definitely a surprising one given that I didn’t know that 332 Manhattan was even open at night! The food here at 332 Manhattan doesn’t use any crazy flavour combinations that seem to be so ‘in’ at the moment, and while I did describe the decor of 332 Manhattan as being quite hipster, the food it’s serving is definitely not pretentious. It’s simple, traditional Italian food, done very well, which isn’t something you see a whole lot of these days. I really enjoyed my time here at 332 Manhattan, and it’s a place I could see myself going to quite often in the future.
240 Bunda Street, Civic
Monday: 7:00am to 4:00pm
Tuesday to Friday: 7:00am to 9:00pm
Saturaday: 8:00am to 9:00pm
Sunday: 8:00am to 4:00pm