PROFILE BY BEST RESTAURANTS
La Luna Bistro feels Carlton-specific, a combination of old and new, trendy and serious. It's housed in an old corner building with a wide area outside that seats lots of people happily on a warm night. Inside, high ceilings with timber floors and bare timber tables seem to encourage people to dress up just a bit. The mood is casual and cheerful, and yet La Luna is very serious about its food and wine.
The menu is reasonably large – about eight main courses, give or take a couple of daily specials – and its strength is undeniably meat. Bread comes as char-grilled garlic sourdough (at a modest cost), and there are usually sausages and cured meats among the starters. There are always some pasta dishes too, perhaps linguini with some kind of seafood, and gnocchi. There will be duck, chicken and pork to be found, but the outstanding dishes here are of beef, aged on the premises. The steaks are wonderful: full-flavoured, beautifully textured, and char-grilled in a way that gives them flavour without adding burnt characters. Try it cooked on the bone – at 700g, it's probably a good idea to share it and order some delicious sides as well. The wine list includes well-chosen Italian and Spanish wines, with a few Frenchies, and waiters are usually well-informed about what's good with the food. Weekend brunches are fabulous but be prepared to eat heartily; this is no place for a nervous appetite.