Former pop-up takeaway joint Rocco's Bologna Discoteca garnered a cult-like following during lockdown for its saucy Italian sangas. So much so that owners Emilio Scalzo and Zoë Rubino (Poodle Bar & Bistro) decided to pop-down permanently on Gertrude Street.

With rich amber-wood details and curtain-covered windows, the two-storey space pays homage to old-world Italian trattorias and visits to Nonna’s house.

The daytime menu by chef Federico Carnevale (ex-Neptune) stars Rocco’s beloved sandwiches, of course. Namely, the signature meatball sub and fried-bologna sandwich, which returns as a dinner option.

There’s also a slew of larger Italian-style dishes by night, including pizza bianca with burnt honey and rosemary, Milanese risotto and a couple of house-made pastas.

For something a little lighter, settle in for a platter of house-made or a swirl of pistachio soft serve. Or a nip of grappa, made in-house. The potent Italian spirit will come infused with flavours like loganberry, peach and rosemary; lemon verbena; or whatever seasonal ingredients the team can get its hands on.

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Updated: March 28th, 2024

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