Da Bruno is the second venue for brothers Michael and Anthony Koutroulis, the duo behind the sleek, three-storey pizza bar Santoni. And it’s a level (or three) up from the nearby Hawthorn venue. The pair designed and built the new spot over a three-year period, following the urge to build something themselves “from scratch”, Michael tells Broadsheet. It lies behind a brutalist concrete (and glass-walled) front, but inside, it’s a nod to old-school Italian charm.

After a trip to Italy led them to dine at Ristorante Da Bruno (which soon became their favourite) in Milan, the brothers were inspired to bring something similar to Melbourne. Richmond’s Da Bruno is all concrete walls and high ceilings, taking cues from Italian artist and designer Bruno Munari.

The venue is made up of five different levels, with not one, but two rooftops. Above ground, a 10-metre-high glass shield guides you into the entrance and one of three dining areas. This space is filled with brown leather couches, round edges, an espresso bar and an open kitchen, with the scent from the spaceship-like woodfired pizza oven taking over the room. A level up, the mezzanine has more seating and a private dining room with an old-school ’80s feel that Michael says was “inspired by Franco Cozzo”. Climb the staircase again, and you’ve made it to the open-air rooftop dining area and main bar for a well-earned drink. And finally, up again, the second rooftop that’s soundtracked by house music is your dedicated spot to sit back and drink with a backdrop of “360[-degree] views of Melbourne”.

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It’s the kind of place where you can choose your own adventure. Pop in for an aperitivo and quick bite before a show or game at the MCG, or stay the whole evening and descend into the neon-lit basement bar, where you can sink into a red velvet lounge for classic cocktails, oysters and the signature house cheeseburger (until midnight). There’s also a live music licence in the works.

The pared-back menu focuses on traditional Italian classics, with a “no messing about” approach using local and seasonal ingredients. From the margherita to the gamberi with prawns, garlic, mozzarella, chilli, parsley and olive oil, all the pizzas are made with Australian flour. You’ll also find pasta on the menu, including the crowd-favourite spaghetti with Moreton Bay bug, tomato, verbena and shellfish butter. Also on offer are snacks and share plates like salmon crudo with capers, shallots, dill, mascarpone and bottarga. And for dessert, tiramisu, naturally.

There’s also an extensive cocktail list – with a choice of seven Martinis among a classic Margarita and Negroni, and a Four Pillars bloody shiraz sour – as well as a number of wines and beers.

Da Bruno
221 Swan Street, Richmond
(03) 9428 3518

Hours:
Tue to Sun midday–10pm (the basement bar closes at midnight)

dabrunorichmond.com