Growing up in Italy, every Sunday Carlo Mellini’s nonno would bring the family a box of Sicilian desserts. The ricotta cannoli was his favourite. Even so, Mellini never imagined specialising in his favourite childhood dessert for a job.
The Cannoli here are filled on the spot. The Sicilian classic is piped – generously – full of sweetened ricotta. Chopped pistachio decorates the ends. There are non-Sicilian versions such as chocolate or vanilla custard, and completely untraditional Oreo, Nutella and Ferrero Rocher varieties.
There are other Sicilian desserts too, such as almond biscuits and cassata siciliane layers of sponge, sweet ricotta and candied fruit, as well as a small selection of pizza.
Cannoli Bar is in an old milk bar on the very residential Riviera Road. Over the speakers there’s a rotating selection of tunes by Italian singers Gianni Morandi, Rino Gaetano and Frank Sinatra.
The interior of the rustic little shop is influenced by Mellini’s nonno’s garage. Knick-knacks – aluminium coffee pots, plants, puppets, empty wine bottles and the original “Pura Milk” milk bar sign – are jammed onto wooden shelves. A restored ladder is used as shelving. The eatery’s elephant logo is symbolic of the Italian region of Catania, where Mellini’s family is from.
Coffee is by Brunswick’s Nomadi Coffee Roasters.