In the sleepy shopping strip of Hawksburn Village on Malvern Road, sits mainstay Cafe Latte. Step inside and be transported to southern Italy – albeit a slicker, more modern-looking version.
The vision of Italian-born Luca Lorusso; over the last 20 years Latte has become a quiet, but proven, player on the city’s Italian food scene. The interior was given a new, more polished look in 2012, but at its heart this is still essentially a neighbourhood restaurant. Staff welcome patrons inside with exclamations of “Ciao bella!” and most likely by name – it’s just that kind of place.
The restaurant is open all day, and caters to the early morning coffee patrons (with a side of creamy scrambled eggs if they have time), to long Sunday-like lunches among friends and into evenings of serving locals with quick bowls of pasta at the bar or multi-course affairs for those settling in and making a night of it.
The menu, which focuses on the southern region of Puglia, changes regularly but doesn’t make a fuss about being seasonal – it's simply taken for granted. Pasta is particularly good here. There might be a penne with lamb ragu, wine, pecorino and tomato, or spaghettini with crab and breadcrumbs. A particular favourite of locals is the braised goat, but make sure you leave room for a tiramisu and an espresso for dessert.
Cafe Latte is dining at its easiest – professional and efficient staff, a great wine list, soul-warming Italian food and that homely feeling you just can’t fake.