Little Collins Street has a new Italian eatery. The site that was once home to Champagne Lounge has been transformed to become Lupino, a project by manager Richard Lodge and chef Marco Lori, longtime colleagues and previous business partners in another CBD Italian, Becco (with Simon Hartley and Liz Egan).
After an extended period searching for the right space, Lodge and Lori came across the former bar, ripped out its interior and started over, building a kitchen and a new dining room designed by architects Techne. The result is a bistro with a retro feel – complete with macramé, terracotta and a little urban kitsch – mixed with a timeless sense of approachability. “The concept is about a simple Italian bistro with all handmade pastas and breads,” says Lodge. “It’s very relaxed with good food and good wine.”
The menu keeps it simple and while the term ‘share-plate’ may not be on the menu, it can be applied to the experience. “We don’t have share-plates as such but more stand-alone meals,” Lodge explains. “Although there are dishes you can share on the menu if that’s how you want to go. We want it to be a place people make their own.” The menu is based around six pastas, three to four pizzas and three entrees and mains.