After about five years carting lasagne all over Melbourne for his dial-for-delivery 1800 Lasagne hotline, Joey Kellock is stepping out of his ’91 Holden Barina and giving the venture a permanent home.
The part-Italian Fitzroy local has moved into an old pizza shop on Thornbury’s High Street strip – finally opening a bricks-and-mortar venue for the mobile business he’s been running out of borrowed kitchens.
“The first vision I had of it was … a little kitchen that I could do lasagne out of, then I’d have just a little 12-seater at the front where basically I could see every corner and everybody from behind the bar,” Kellock tells Broadsheet. “I’d just sling some wine and a couple basic spirits, just so people would keep me company while I made lasagne.”
But that’s not quite how it turned out.
“I actually came very close to exactly that,” he says. “But we took this place down the street instead which is kind of the opposite – way bigger than I originally wanted at first, which is just a bit scarier. I wanted to do it tiny so there was no fear factor attached, but it’s just a really beautiful old building.”
The dark and moody new diner – still called 1800 Lasagne – has space for 50 people across a front bar, dining room, rear courtyard and laneway area.
Striking brick archways are a feature, framing the windows on the facade and the doorways within. And the fit-out plays on those curves, with a radius bar top made from white oak; hand-blown, spherical glass light fixtures by Mark Douglass; and soft, rounded edges throughout.
“I’ve spent evenings here after I’ve done a big delivery or I’ve sent the drivers all out and I just sit back, listen to jazz in the dim lights in the front bar,” Kellock says. “It’s a beautiful space, people are going to have a real fun time. Think jazzy [and] soulful times – it’s a really special vibe.”
The tight menu revolves, of course, around lasagne. Both versions made famous by Kellock’s delivery service will be available: a meaty bolognaise (of minced beef and pork) in a wine-spiked tomato sauce layered with bechamel, and a vegetarian version with eggplant. A vegan option is coming soon.
There are also a few snackier items: salumi from Donati’s in Carlton; gardiniera (Italian pickled vegetables); buttery garlic bread; plus a handful of salads for those seeking a cheese reprieve.
Kellock’s also planning on having fun with some specials. “We’ll do some pastas … we might cook a barbie on a Sunday out in the backyard, Italian-style. There’ll be a few surprises here and there,” he says.
To drink, there are all the classic spritzes (Aperol, Campari, Cynar); a few juicy Italian drops by the bottle; and Italian prosecco and Yarra Valley sangiovese and rosé on tap.
Working in his very own kitchen is probably going to keep Kellock busy for the next few weeks, but he’ll still be getting behind the wheel of his Barina now and then. In the meantime, he’s got other drivers doing the delivery rounds.
653 High Street, Thornbury
1800 527 2463
Wed & Thu 5pm–11pm
Fri to Sun 3pm–11pm