Two identical signs jut out from the former Iberia site’s frontage on Rundle Street. Both read “bar”.

Jock Zonfrillo’s third venue on Rundle Street, this is. A restaurant, this is not.

“We own a fine-dining restaurant (Orana), we own a bistro (Bistro Blackwood), and now we’ve got a bar, too,” Zonfrillo tells Broadsheet. We’re sitting in that very bar – Mallozzi – in its first-ever hour of trade.

The vino and spuntino (or “snack”) bar is reminiscent of those that blanket Italy. Zonfrillo says the concept had been lying in wait before this conveniently located space became available. “I can’t be everywhere at the same time but having three kitchens within 10 seconds’ walk works,” he says.

Zonfrillo fans will recall Nonna Mallozzi, the food truck he ran in Peel Street in 2016 and ’17. Mallozzi is Zonfrillo’s great-grandmother’s maiden name; he’s Scottish-born but has Italian heritage on his father’s side. That much is obvious from the fit-out, which features thick stripes of green, white and red from wall to floor. The bar tops have also been replaced, and there’s new furniture and brown-leather upholstery. You wouldn’t know Zonfrillo signed the lease just three weeks ago, but lightning-fast fit-outs are second nature to him at this point.

Orana sommelier (and Mallozzi part-owner) Shaun Lau curated the drinks list. Wines fly the Italian flag, even when they don’t. “Any Aussie wines we’ve got are Italian varietals,” Zonfrillo says. There’s Delinquente nero d’avola rostato, La Prova bianco and a Koerner sangiovese blend.

Lau’s amaro-based cocktails are clean and “not too tricked-up”. Imported amari are listed alongside local variations. Find Imperial Measure Distilling’s Ruby Bitter with cynar and coffee, or Never Never Distilling Co’s Fancy Fruit Cup with orange, pomegranate and mint.

The bar menu is full of the kind of “grazing food” Zonfrillo grew up eating. There are dedicated headings for salumi and formaggi, both of which are sold in 50-gram increments. Other snacks include mozzarella in carozza e acciuga (a deep-fried cheese sandwich with anchovy), vitello tonato and fried stuffed green olives. It’s rounded out with a few pastas, including tagliatelle bolognaise and tonnarelli cacio e pepe (pecorino and pepper).

Portions are smaller than a normal entree, but so are the prices. “You can still be fulfilled if you’re here for a few hours,” Zonfrillo says.

Two women tentatively slink through the door during our visit. Unknowingly, they’re Mallozzi’s first customers. Once they’ve left, applause echoes through the staff ranks. Onwards and upwards.

This article was published on December 11, 2018. Menu items may have changed.

279 Rundle Street, Adelaide
Mon to Thu 4pm–late
Fri to Sun 12pm–late