Kew, the leafy suburb five kilometres east of the CBD, is enjoying something of a mini renaissance. Along with classic spots like Centonove and the always packed Supreme J Kitchen, there’s also the recently revamped Studley Park Boathouse, Skinny Dog’s new rooftop bar and eight-seat omakase spot Sushi-On, which opened earlier this year.
And now Mister Bianco, the 13-year-old spot from restaurateur and chef Joe Vargetto, has moved to a new location just two blocks away on Cotham Road. The new space opens to the public on Thursday November 23.
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The three-in-one venue will also be home to Bianchetto, a moody stand-alone bar with a cocktail menu by beverage consultant Drinks by Loro founder Orlando Marzo, (who won the prestigious Diageo World Class bartending awards in 2018). And an upstairs event space called La Sala with a capacity of 150.
While the original restaurant had room for 45, this upgraded version seats 100. Mills Gorman Architects steered the conceptual design and the high-ceilinged space is divided into cosy and intimate pockets by clusters of tan leather banquettes and marble-topped tables.
In the kitchen, Vargetto continues to be inspired by his southern Italian heritage. He describes the menu as Italian but “with all roads leading to Sicily”. Diners can expect focaccia and sfincione (a thick Sicilian pizza with an airy interior and crisp base) from the bread oven. Fresh house-made pasta stars in dishes like pappardelle with ossobuco and saffron spaghettini with scarlet prawns. And there’s porchetta cooked over red gum coals.
For dessert there are Italian classics like Vargetto’s signature tiramisu or a simple affogato.
At Bianchetto, Marzo says the team is “using local ingredients … but also being adventurous and taking people on a journey”. That means drinks that include olive oil Martinis made using Mount Zero olive oil. There’s also a wine list that features both Australian and Italian wines.