Lauro Siliquini – co-owner of Ruby Red Flamingo, Tony Tomatoes and the ever-changing single-dish diner on O’Connell Street – has spent decades in hospitality. Even so, he still considers himself “a humble Italian waiter”.

The latest addition to his portfolio – Coccobello – draws on his central-Italian roots, plus those of his northern-Italian business partner Enzo Verdino. In short: pizza, pasta and some considered Italian classics. Find it a few doors down from Hispanic Mechanic on Glen Osmond Road.

For Siliquini, it all started with a picture he took in Cinque Terre. “It was just a … bocce pitch,” he says. “There was a wall with two plastic chairs in front of it and a name written on [it].”

He showed that photo to Melbourne-based interior designer Alana Cooke and she set about recreating its relaxed Mediterranean feel at Coccobello. The fit-out was almost a year in the making. The stucco walls have a light lace finish and imported Italian terrazzo is everywhere in the largest of three dining rooms, which looks out over a small outdoor terrace. The venue seats a total of 150 people.

Pizzaiolo Matteo Barison has headed east from Tony Tomatoes to preside over a large electric pizza oven that’s partially powered by the solar panels on the roof. He crafts biga (a pre-fermented baker’s yeast starter) dough from the large bags of imported stone-ground flour in the kitchen. Next to them is a station where fresh egg pasta is made daily.

In the kitchen, Verdino dispenses rapid-fire instructions in his mother tongue. He has family in Bologna, where he learned the art of tortellini making. Coccobello’s signature dish is delicate veal-and-prosciutto parcels served in a chicken broth. Though Verdino has called in some expert help to create them: “They’re just three or four grams [each],” he says. “To make them would be hard for me so my wife does them – she has very little hands.”

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You can recognise Ruby Red in the pasta and Tony Tomatoes in the pizza, but Coccobello is its own entity. The kitchen bakes bread and makes gelati on-site. About a third of the menu is vegetarian and just about everything can be made gluten-free.

Coccobello
209 Glen Osmond Road, Frewville
(08) 7225 9599
Hours:
Mon closed
Tue to Thu 5.30pm–late
Fri 12pm–2.30pm, 5.30pm–late
Sat 5.30pm–late
Sun closed

coccobello.com.au