Joe Vargetto’s beloved Sicilian diner comes with a history lesson. While it features well-known cuisine from the region, such as pasta and braised dishes, there are surprising snippets of German influence too. That’s down to a blip in Sicily’s past when Mussolini gave power to Germany and the island was used as a fortress. Vargetto is careful to maintain the authenticity of the food from his parents’ homeland.
From the bread oven, diners might expect focaccia and sfincione (a thick Sicilian pizza). Bite sized-snacks and starters are also on offer, such as appellation oysters with melon granita, or prawns dusted with semolina for extra crunch. Fresh house-made pasta stars in dishes like pappardelle with ossobuco and saffron spaghettini with scarlet prawns. Plus, there’s porchetta slow-cooked over red gum coals. In true southern Italian style, meals are best shared among the table, grazing style. As for dessert, it’s only natural to order Italian classics like Vargetto’s signature tiramisu or an affogato.
The cocktails venture from adventurous options (think olive oil Martinis made using Mount Zero olive oil) to more traditional ones. There’s also a wine list that features both Australian and Italian wines.
Mills Gorman Architects led the design of the high-ceilinged space. The lively yet intimate interior is divided into cosy pockets by tan leather banquettes and marble-topped tables. Amber coloured glass breaks up the space and the open bar and kitchen allows diners to watch the team at work.
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