Want to feel like a posh Italian sailing enthusiast enjoying an opulent Mediterranean pit stop? Head to L’Americano. It is homewares store and interior-design firm Coco Republic’s experimental foray into the cafe scene. And it’s every bit as meticulously lavish as you’d expect.
“The film The Talented Mr. Ripley is exactly what we are trying to transport you to,” says Niko Giourgas, L’Americano’s aptly slick manager. The idea was inspired by Dickie Greenleaf, the womanising aristocrat from Anthony Minghella’s thriller. “We want to make the customer travel. As soon as they step in we want them to forget they’re in Sydney.”
There are gold-rimmed bowls and marble tabletops. The menu mixes traditional Italian bar food with modern -Australian cafe fare. Alex Kearnes from Glebe Point Diner designed a simple menu that relies on quality produce.
Everything is fresh, full of flavour and daintily presented. The signature salad is a great example; a messy toss of fennel, figs, walnut, feta, radicchio, pancetta and roasted cherry tomatoes.
The bread is by Cronulla’s quiet achiever, Thoroughbread bakery. It is used in the crostini with delicious, thick-cut ciabatta. Favourites are the burrata, pancetta and braised pepper, or the kingfish carpaccio with fennel and capers.
All sweets come from nearby Rosetta Stone but the cafe will increase its homemade items as time goes on. Most immediately will be the butter; the deservedly ubiquitous Pepe Saya has been bravely tossed aside to welcome chef Michael Watson’s homemade alternative. In the future the cafe will also sell all its crockery and furniture, so you can take the opulence of the Italian seaside home.