South Melbourne is the kind of place where people know each other; a self-contained neighbourhood where time moves a bit more slowly than it does in its immediate and nearby city surrounds.
With that in mind owners Alex Ghaddab and David Pedulla have opened Park Street Pasta & Wine.
“We want to be the kind of restaurant where you feel as though you’re dining at a friend’s house, an osteria, basically,” Ghaddab says. “We’re keeping the menu short, and changing it fortnightly to keep things interesting.
“You'll only find fresh tomatoes on our menu in January and February when they're blood red and in their finest form.”
Ghaddab has been in the industry for 15 years; he’s spent time at Stefano’s in Mildura and most recently at Movida Aqui. He manages Park Street day-to-day.
Chef Nicola Akritidis (formerly of Vue de Monde, Longrain) grew up between Greece and Sweden and spent time working in Tuscany. His concise menu features charred octopus with romesco; Jerusalem artichoke and sweet potato crisps; and a selection of five different pastas, all made in-house using Daylesford’s Real Eggs and flour from Laucke Flour Mills in South Australia.
“We subscribe to the Italian tradition of fatto a mano [handmade] – we’re making fresh pasta everyday,” says Ghaddab, “At the moment we’re doing veal and wild rabbit agnolotti with sage butter and a ricciutelle with red-wine braised octopus and bone marrow.”
In addition to the handmade rolled pasta, Akritidis is also serving fresh extruded pasta – made by forcing dough through a cutting device known as a “die” to get varieties such as macaroni and penne – including a casarecce with Wagyu beef-cheek ragu. (Fresh extruded pasta is rare – even in high-end restaurants – given the high cost of the machines.) There’s also a chickpea-based gluten-free pasta made by Melbourne’s Goodness Catering.
Cale Marangon, who met Ghaddab working at Movida Aqui, runs the bar and has put together a concise, mostly Italian wine list. There are also a couple of local bottles from the Yarra Valley.
“It’s an eight and eight white and red, with a pink and orange in between,” Ghaddab says. There are also a couple of sparkling options.
The restaurant is light with no-fuss décor. A painting formerly owned by the late acclaimed auteur and South Melbourne resident Paul Cox hangs by the bar. The building, which dates to the 1880s, sits on the corner of Park and Perrins Streets.
A wrought-iron arm extends from the frontage above the front door with three copper balls hanging from it – the European signpost for a pawnbroker.
“It was a French restaurant called Balls in the ’70s, doing nouveau cuisine,” Ghaddab says.
An outdoor licence is pending, but when it comes through, you’ll be able to sit outside with a view of the beautiful old Town Hall.
Park Street Pasta & Wine
268 Park Street, South Melbourne
(03) 9042 8871
Tue to Fri Lunch 12pm–3pm
Tue to Sat Dinner 12pm–10pm