Rossi is the kind of place where “you can let your hair down after dinner”, says Nick Young, the director of Good Company Bar Group. The Italian spot, located in the former Ladro Tap site on Greville Street, is the first restaurant from the group behind Melbourne bars and clubs including The Emerson, Electric and Riviera Beach Club.
At Rossi, the focus is on creating an “ambience that allows [the space] to change from a restaurant to a bar without it being obnoxious and in your face,” Young tells Broadsheet.
As the night evolves, the lights will slowly dim, the Tasmanian-made speakers from Pitt & Giblin (the Hobart-based audio company that’s made speakers for listening bars Waxflower and Stella’s) will play more upbeat music, and Rossi will begin to feel more like a boisterous Greville Street bar than an Italian restaurant. The venue will host live jazz and DJs Thursday through Sunday nights.
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The Italian-leaning menu, by French-born head chef Thibault Boggio (ex-Vue de Monde, Pinchy’s), hints at Boggio’s training at a Michelin-starred restaurant in dishes like the parmigiana choux, filled with bechamel sauce, Wagyu and caviar. Burrata is served with roasted cherry tomato coulis and mushroom pasta arancini – fried balls made with mushroom pasta rather than the typical rice – are served with a pesto emulsion.
But the menu will also suit those just looking for a pizza and pasta dinner. The 10-strong pizza list includes classics alongside a prawn Nerano pizza (named for a village on Italy’s Sorrento peninsula) that’s topped with zucchini cream, smoked buffalo mozzarella, prawns, and fried zucchini. Pizza dough is made using imported Italian flour, but fluffy house-made gluten-free bases that hold their own against the traditional crusts are also available.
Classic Italian desserts round out the menu. Tiramisu is served tableside, and a selection of cannoli and gelati will rotate regularly.
Alongside cocktails (and several non-alcoholic counterparts) the wine list is mostly made up of drops from Italy, France and Australia, while a concise beer list has classic Italian bottles like Birra Moretti and Peroni Red.
With “Rossi’” loudly scrawled across the front window in crimson, it’s a hard spot to miss. Inside, it’s filled with greenery, bright artworks and large pendant lights. Renovations are underway to build a second bar in the outdoor space. In the meantime, sidewalk seating and a cosy indoor lounge and courtyard make Rossi a welcome new addition to this part of Prahran.