The Rockpool Dining Group brought the Fratelli Fresh chain to Melbourne in mid-2016, after it had conquered most of inner-city Sydney. This outlet was our first.
Walk through the red double doors and past the staircase to find the expansive dining room featuring chequered floors, plenty of dark wood and striking pops of red. But the real standout feature is a marble bar, which wraps around the wood-fired pizza oven.
This is the prime spot to dine. Sit and watch the pizzaiolos at work, dipping into their bag of flour and working their sourdough base to create a classic margherita or something a little left-of-field, such as pizza topped with mozzarella, diamond clams, parsley and clam juice.
TV chef and household name Neil Perry oversees the menus here and at fellow fast-casual venues Sake Jr and Burger Project. He encourages family-style dining with a long list of antipasti options and house-made pastas to share. Don’t go past the tiramisu for dessert.
Wines are mostly Italian varieties. The list is broken down into flavour profiles for easy reference and to suit any level of experience. If you’re only after a drink, head to the standalone bar for classic Italian cocktails such as the Negroni or the Garibaldi – a no-fuss mix of Campari and orange juice.
Although Fratelli Fresh is new, the building itself has a rich history. Built in the late 1800s, it was once a Naval & Military Club; it was home to the iconic Mietta’s Italian restaurant in the 1980s; and more recently it housed Comme and Stokehouse City. The team has maintained the original structure of the heritage-listed building and kept features such as the decorative ceiling.