Patrick Ciccaldo and Hugo Diaz (owners of Café Bedda in Northcote) have turned a long-standing dream into reality by opening Italian restaurant Cantina Centrale in Mont Albert.
Cantina Centrale differs from Café Bedda in that it takes inspiration from the whole of Italy (not just Sicily), allowing them more room to explore the range of flavours that Italy has to offer. They have kept their beloved pizza dough recipe and now cook them in a wood-fired oven. The pizzas, cooked perfectly and offered at a very reasonable price point, are a constant on the menu, while the rest changes weekly.
You might see a roasted spatchcock stuffed with lemon and ricotta served on asparagus or a rustic pasta with a mixed ragu of chicken, beef and pork. Or for something a little different, order a serve of the savoury pumpkin doughnuts to start.
The drinks offering is simple, with 10 white wines, 10 red wines and five beers on the list. The wine boasts Italian and Australian varieties, while the beers are all Italian bar one. Sprits are also looked after in true Italian style with limoncello and grappa behind the bar.
With chef and co-owner Hugo Diaz cooking the kind of food he grew up with, diners are in for a treat. Ciccaldo wants people to appreciate good Italian home-style cooking and honest food.