Are there restaurants where it always becomes default if you’re too lazy or just don’t know where you want to eat? There’s a few like that for me. One of them (probably not the best out there but is quite consistent) is Universal Restaurant on Lygon Street. It’s within walking distance from a friend’s place and seems to always be the pick (or it’s Laksa King if we feel like Asian) when last minute decisions need to be made. If I’m at home, it’s always either Grand Tofu or our old favourite Star East in Glen Waverley.
Universal is a no frills Italian restaurant serving up generous plates of pastas, steaks, pizzas and traditional Italian desserts at an acceptable price. I’ve never received bad service the many times I’ve been there and food was always quite consistently tasty.
One of Yuye’s favourite dishes is the Pork Ribs & Chicken Wings with tender marinated & grilled pork ribs and chicken wings, served with beer battered chips and a huge side of salad. I always found it to be a very filling dish but the meats were juicy, sweet and finger licking delicious.
I’ve tried many of their dishes including the schnitzel, steaks and pastas so the last time we visited, I wanted to try something different. When we were told the special of the day was lamb shanks with mash, half of our table (and the next big table) all jumped at the idea. It turned out that our table ordered most of the lamb shanks available and we robbed our neighbouring table of theirs…they were only able to order 1 lamb shank in the end. Tis the harsh world of popular food…
The dish didn’t look as big as I thought but it was still surprisingly filling. The shank was so tender it fell right off the bone and the mash was beautifully creamy. The mash was actually green so I think they probably put spinach in it. I also loved the addition of the juicy cherry tomatoes, but I could have done with a little more sauce as they got used up quite quickly.
Racheese got a calamari served with homemade tartare and Italian salad. The salad pile was so big I had to finish them for her. The calamari were tender and juicy on the inside and crispy on the outside but it was just calamari so it wasn’t anything that special.
One thing that I really like is their beer battered chips. I usually like my chips fat and soft in the centre while crunchy on the outside, which is exactly what Universal’s chips are like.
I also got a real vanilla bean milk shake which was very creamy and delicious. It was actually quite thick, the consistency is about half way between regular milk shakes and thick shakes. Arch ordered a chocolate milk shake which I didn’t taste, but I would imagine it would be just as good as the vanilla.
I always enjoy myself when I visit Universal, not purely for the nice food and friendly service, but also for the company I’m with. It’s a nice environment to enjoy a coffee and cake as well over a nice conversation while looking around the room at all the patriotic flags and decorations. It was here that I finally learnt what the Italian flag looked like (yes I know, I’m very bad with flags and the order of colours…).
Question time: Do you have default restaurants that you don’t mind always eating at or do you always like to pick something strategically?
Phone: (03) 9347 4393
139-141 Lygon Street, Carlton VIC 3053