Adam Pruckner has lived and worked in Brunswick most of his life. So when the former Code Black chef decided to strike out on his own, opening on Sydney Road was a foregone conclusion. Small Axe was founded with the help of his partner, Kirstyn Tait, and old mate Jas Singh.
The homey cafe features both open-air seating and reassuring, cosy corners. The 100-year-old building has a modern industrial feel; with an espresso bar, street-side dining and internal laneways.
In line with Pruckner's heritage and a honeymoon trip he and Tait took to Sicily, the menu is largely inspired by Italy. The breakfast pasta, for example, is maccaruni topped with cured pork cheek, peas, mint, salted ricotta and a slow-cooked egg.
Dinner is slightly more intimate and moody than breakfast; tables are adorned with flowers from a local florist and the menu is more diverse, but still focused on rich Sicilian flavours. Favourites include a prawn spaghetti with a pistachio pesto, octopus with ‘nduja (spreadable salami).
There’s also a range of Italian and Australian wines. Coffee is a seasonal blend from Code Black.
A recipe from Small Axe is featured in The Broadsheet Italian Cookbook. Buy your copy at shop.broadsheet.com.au.