It’s in the former DOC Albert Park space, and the restaurant’s “artisans” include the Fragrassi and Ursini families, who supply tomatoes from the Italian region of Abruzzo; the Alvise family, who supply Puglian olive oil; and the Bamonte family, Italo-Australian mozzarella producers based in NSW.
For Nicolini pizza is still “king”, but he experiments with alternative grains (from central Southern Italy) to make it more digestible, nutritious, and tastier.
There are four variations of the margherita; a porcini mushroom with truffle oil; the Culatello with smoked burrata; and one with tiger prawns, rocket and chilli. An Italian grain salad has buckwheat, black rice, chickpeas, pesto, carrots and almonds.
Nicolini’s antipasto menu includes a 24-month-aged prosciutto, house-pickled vegetables and fresh cheeses. And “gastronomic marriages” such as burrata and bottarga, mortadella and stracciatella, and caponata and Salina capers. For dessert there’s a classic ricotta cannoli with candied orange and pistachio, a Nutella calzone, and goat’s-cheese tiramisu.
The extensive drinks list includes minimal-intervention wines from Puglia, Toscana, Piemonte and Veneto; a stellar lambrusco from the Emilia-Romagna region; and Italian microbrews, including the malty, slightly herbaceous Baladin Pop from Piemonte.
Much of the fit-out is the same as at DOC Albert Park, with whitewashed walls, polished-concrete floors and custom timber furniture.
A recipe from Italian Artisans is featured in The Broadsheet Italian Cookbook. Buy your copy at shop.broadsheet.com.au.