Gavin Baker (formerly of The Fat Duck), along with Pete Evans (a My Kitchen Rules judge) and developer Lang Walker, are intent on redefining dining on lower Collins Street.
Joining Bar Nacional and Long Shot, Chiara is a more traditional offering. Dressed in soft woods, hazy copper and white marble, Rod Faucheux of Loop Creative designed a space that’s all about unfussy comfort.
Chiara’s menu filters classic Italian through contemporary technique. The pork belly on the pork-belly pizza is brined for six hours, then rinsed, then confit’d overnight.
Pastas are made in-house daily – and not just fettuccini, but conchiglie, casarecce and rigatoni. Pizzas are baked in a brick Boretti oven. Otherwise, the menu, designed by chef George Fowler of London’s two-Michelin-starred Pollen Street Social, goes for clean, light and citric, with dishes such as Kingfish carpaccio with capers, raw grated apple, crisp pork belly, and a citrus olive oil dressing. It’s a good mix of classics and discipline.
Chiara’s desserts are from the imagination of pastry-whiz Shaun Quade, with dishes such as liquorice ice-cream with hibiscus jelly, two kinds of cake, candied mandarins, crystallised black olives, topped with a liquorice chip.
The wine list, designed by ex-Circa and Golden Fields head sommelier, Jeff Salt is mostly Italian with a few Australian varietals in the mix.