Verve Restaurant and Cider House
What's not to love about a subterranean vault smack bang in the middle of the CBD filled with pasta and a bazillion different types of cider?
A subterranean vault smack bang in the middle of the CBD filled with pasta and a bazillion different types of cider — what's not to love? Cool and dim in the hot summer months, and warm and cosy throughout the winter, Verve is a restaurant for all seasons. It's an old favourite among the CBD folk, who skulk down for a surreptitious lunchtime wine or cruise on in after work for a hearty meal and a happy hour cider.
Verve is truly a refuge from the outside world. Once you reach the bottom of the staircase (which you will find on Edward Street, next to Metro Arts), you're in a completely different world; upstairs it could be day or night, sunny or stormy, hot or cold, and you would be none the wiser. The restaurant itself has a rustic feel thanks to its basement setting, exposed brick walls and various nooks and crannies. But, rightly so, the real attraction here is the food, which is served in generous portions and is consistently delicious.
It would be criminal to start the meal without a serving of Verve's beloved pan bread, topped with olives, feta and basil ($7.90). Meals include mouthwatering pizzas and main plates, but the real stars of the show are the pastas and risottos. The pork belly linguini ($22.90) is made with olive oil, chilli, garlic and wilted spinach and packs a flavoursome punch. If you are looking for a more traditional dish, then maybe the bolognese conchiglia ($19.90) with sticky balsamic is for you. The moreish blue cheese and chicken risotto ($22.90) augments the strong flavour of blue cheese with rosemary and white wine, while the vodka and artichoke risotto ($18.90) with caramelised onion, vodka and rosé sauce is a decadent choice for vegetarians.
All of this rich food is best washed down with a refreshing cider, which is available in torrents at Verve. Different varieties are categorised according to their dryness or sweetness, so all tastes can be ably catered to, and the friendly staff are always happy to give advice and make suggestions according to your preferences.