The neat +39 sign that swings outside an unassuming black and white shop front on Little Bourke Street says it all for some. Owner Remo Nicolini, formerly of Pizza Espresso with brother Tony, has banged this prefix for international calls to Italy with the ambitious title of pizzeria and degustation bar.
By day, the space operates as a cafe with a simple menu of piadinas and paninos, reasonably priced pizzas and a selection of pastas. The pizza dough is nice and fine, and puffed by a roaring pizza oven, providing the perfect base for combinations such as the Tirolese, which arrives with gooey mozzarella, marscapone, caramelized leek and speck.
But if you decide on a degustation board, don’t take a light-hearted approach. Go for the mixed degustation or the Italian cheesy one. If you’re lucky the latter will arrive with a milky fior di late with olive and pink salt for dressing, a mound of soft fresh ricotta (drizzle it with the truffle honey), and a burrata from Puglia that oozes its creamy centre with a quick prick of a knife.
We all know that asking for more parmesan is tiresome too, so small touches - such as a grinder filled with a square of Parmigiano-Reggiano - for each table make the dining experience all the more seamless.