Diana Caruso says it doesn’t matter how many hospitality venues you own, like having children, it’s never going to be the same as the previous one.
No. 19 in Ascot Vale is Diana’s third cafe with husband Domenic, after St Rose in Essendon and Espresso 3121 (now closed) in Richmond.
No. 19 doesn’t refer to the cafe’s street number, but something a little more sentimental – the age the Carusos met and the date their son was born.
Popular dishes are the Nourish Brekky with eggs, mushrooms, broccolini and haloumi, and the pea fritters with pan-fried salmon.
On the sweeter side, alongside spelt Bircher with coconut, N2 strawberry sherbet gelato and pineapple ginger, there’s Cherry Ripe pancakes with stewed cherries, dark chocolate mascarpone, chocolate cherry fudge ice-cream.
Melbourne-based studio Biasol designed the interior, with director Jean-Pierre Biasol working closely with the Carusos to create a specific vision for the 190-square-metre cafe.
They were inspired by the Greek delicatessans around Melbourne in the 1950s, which was translated with polished concrete floors, blonde timber furniture, bulbous brass lamps by Cedar and Moss from the US, and turquoise cement bar tiles from Popham Design.