Each morning, Funghi e Tartufo owner-chef Alessandra D’Angelo arrives before everyone else. She makes a cream for the pasta, mixes the meatballs, and prepares the swordfish and barramundi – all plant-based, all made using recipes she developed after moving with her two children to Australia from Palermo, Italy, in 2009.

Funghi e Tartufo is D’Angelo’s third vegan restaurant in Melbourne, named after the signature dish – a mushroom and truffle pappardelle – served at her previous venture, Osteria Italiana. That dish makes a comeback here, along with other plant-based recreations of classic Sicilian fare.

You might start with some antipasti, followed by lemon-pepper calamari fritti; “barramundi” in a tomato, caper and green olive sauce; or potato gnocchi spun with mushroom bolognese. For dessert, it might be chocolate cheesecake or hazelnut gelato.

The wine list is similarly thoughtful, favouring biodynamic and organic drops sourced from Italy. Cocktails are suitably Italian, which means you can pair your pasta with a Negroni, Aperol Spritz or amaro.

Situated in a converted 19th-century warehouse on Hardware Lane, the space has more old-school charm than some of the other Italian joints in the area. Think white tablecloths, ornamental wine barrels and a vinyl-wrapped bar guarding the cellar. Like any good trattoria, there’s plenty of outside seating for taking in the hum of the laneway on a Saturday night.

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Updated: May 19th, 2022

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