In 2019, Scott Pickett (Estelle, Matilda) decided to reopen the former Saint Crispin space as Lupo. It’s a non-traditional Italian restaurant which combines Pickett’s love of handmade pasta with his deep appreciation of untraditional ingredient combinations.
You’ll see this creativity in a combination of crab, scallop, basil and sunrise lime (a pear-shaped golden citrus fruit) in the spanner crab lasagne. And in the squid-ink linguine with sardine vinaigrette and bottarga. Or the Japanese dashi – in this case made using roast potato – with Yukon gold potato tagliatelle and garum, a fermented Roman fish sauce.
Most of the pasta dishes can be made gluten-free using rigatoni made with chickpea flour. The gluten-free pasta is also vegan, but you'll need to check in with floor staff about vegan sauces. Black-truffle risotto is cooked to order, and for an extra $25, the kitchen will add black truffles to any dish on the menu.
Drinks also flit between traditional and modern. There’s plenty of classic Italian such as a rustic Yarra Valley barbera, and a light and fruity nero d’avola from Cielo in Sicily alongside a couple of bold, skin-contact orange wines. There are five whites, five reds and a handful of orange wines regularly on-pour among a more extensive bottle selection. The spirits and cocktail list is smart and compact and has a focus on Italian and Australian aperitifs that provide a balance of bitter and fruit to charge the appetite pre-meal.
Studio Calero, the design firm behind the art direction and branding at Tipo 00, Osteria Ilaria and Sunda is behind the space. They've given the dining room a colour scheme of soft green and a very Aperol-esque orange. The open kitchen stretches along the southern wall, so you can watch the hypnotic rolling of fresh pasta from your table as you sip vermouth.