Despite its elegant fit-out, complete with commanding black granite communal table, grey marble bar and textured tan-and-black leather seating, Aromi has the ambience of a relaxed neighbourhood eatery.
The menu takes inspiration from owners Paolo Masciopinto and Salvator Montella’s home regions of Piemonte and Napoli respectively, using Victorian produce and minimal imports. From the list of bite-sized stuzzichini (small plates), order the gnocco fritto (fried dough), which comes wrapped in house-made Wagyu bresaola and has a soft and smoky scamorza centre. For something bigger, Gippsland duck is almost always on the menu in some form. There’s also a noteworthy roster of pasta – feather-light pumpkin tortelli; pappardelle made with chestnut flour; or spaghetti infused with tomato – the silky pasta turned a soft blush pink – topped with spanner crab and shaved, toasted macadamia nuts.
Aromi’s showpiece dessert is Masciopinto’s deluxe take on the monte bianco, an Italian winter classic named for its resemblance to Europe’s highest peak, Mont Blanc. Here it involves hazelnut shortcrust pastry filled with frangipane and house-made marron glace (candied chestnuts), topped with a perfectly curved spiral of chestnut puree. It’s plated over a spinning record player, giving it an Insta-ready appearance.
There’s a short and interesting wine list – just 24 drops – with Italy and other European countries well-represented, plus a couple of Antipodean choices. The focus for beer is on local brews, such as Red Hill Pilsner.
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