Zsa's is part deli, part bistro and part bar, designed to transition from morning to night.
Pasta hangs drying on racks – Zsa’s sous-chef makes fresh gnocchi, cavatelli and fettucine every morning – and the charcuterie fridge holds ethically produced meats from local smallgoods suppliers including Salt Kitchen and Puopolo Artisan Salumi (think guanciale and smoked pancetta for making proper carbonara), and pates and terrines from City Larder.
Owner Zowie Minchin’s obsession with tinned seafood means there’s a very decent selection of anchovies, sardines, sprats, mejillones (Spanish tinned mussels), and zamburiñas (small scallops), too, mostly imported from Europe. But plenty of Zsa’s suppliers are from nearby; cheeses come from L’Artisan in Geelong, Ballarat’s Spud Sisters take care of potatoes, free range eggs are from Ararat’s Green Eggs, and spreads come from nearby Jams by Fiona.
Beyond pantry-stocking, you can pick up heat-at-home meals and takeaway here, too. There’s a shaved cabbage and fennel salad with peas and ricotta salata, and a panini selection that’s generating some buzz. Especially the porchetta roll.
That roll is a Ned’s Bakery baguette stuffed with free-range pork that chef Robin Turner (former head chef at meat-centric Carlton North bistro La Luna) has slow roasted overnight. Turner then adds thick shards of crackling, greens and scarmoza (smoked mozzarella). The muffuletta is house baked focaccia filled with mortadella, salami, prosciutto, olives, mozzarella and roast capsicum, and it’s ¬sold by the inch (choose from three, six or nine-inches), and there’s also a fish and chip panini, with fried whitebait, a creamy celeriac remoulade and fries.
There's also a small range of pastries too. Wines – local and international – are stacked by the entrance. There are also bottled cocktails from local producers to try.