When Matteo Giordano was growing up, his grandmother never threw out stale focaccia. Instead she would soak it in tomatoes and add some basil and olive oil to make pappa al pomodoro.
When he opened his own cafe the traditional dish found its way onto the menu, updated with fresh focaccia, a charcoal cracker and soft-poached egg.
Giordano honed his trade at Ruby Red Flamingo and Tony Tomatoes after moving to Australia six years ago. He cites chef Enzo Verdino as “a big influence on my cooking.” But the arrival of his first child three-and-a-half months ago meant it was time to give up the late nights and open his own cafe.
Pane e Latte is a paean to his upbringing in Gioia del Colle, a small town in southern Italy. Black-and-white family photographs adorn the walls. Simple stoneware plates and Formica tables were sourced from op shops and auctions to mimic the kitchens he grew up in.
"It's a grandma feeling," he says. "This is what we used to eat, and it feels like where we used to eat. It’s very simple, there’s not a lot of mucking around. Just straight out of the oven and onto the plate.”
From that oven come filled pastries such as calzone and panzerotti. Brunch standards also make it onto the menu. Smashed avocado gets a slight tweak with focaccia and buffalo ricotta, and the granola bowl is topped with honey mascarpone.
Mauro Gulli (of Andre's Cucina) makes the zeppole and bombolone before they are filled with crema pasticciera (Italian custard). Coffees are dispensed from a gleaming Rocket Espresso Milano machine.
Pane e Latte
587 Regency Road, Broadview
(08) 8123 5115
Wed to Fri 8am–4pm
Sat & Sun 8.30am–3pm