Mark + Vinny's
Bright-coloured pastas, vegan eggs and charcoal-black cocktails – Mark + Vinny’s could easily be a gimmick. But Adrian Jankuloski (Icebergs, The Dolphin) is in the kitchen, the pastas are house-made or imported from acclaimed pasta-maker Joe Cassaniti (Pepe’s Pasta) and the spritz menu is 50 cocktails deep.
The concept is simple – spritz and spaghetti – but because Vince Pizzinga and Mark Filippelli (both co-founders at Melbourne’s Matcha Mylkbar) are involved almost everything here has a twist.
Bright-blue pasta is infused with blue spirulina and tossed with blue swimmer crab and bottarga. Another pasta is ink black. If you line up the right selection of spritzes (there are 36 DIY options and a further 18 set recipes) with pasta dishes you can make a rainbow.
Less obvious is the prominence of plant-based alternatives. Although the menu features a classic ragu and a rib eye, more than half the menu is vegan. The caprese salad is made with soy mozzarella and the zucchini flowers are stuffed with smoked almond curd. That black pasta is a vegan carbonara with smoked mushroom “pancetta”, vegan egg and plant-based parmesan. All the plant-based ingredients are made in-house. There are a few old-school Italian classics such as eggplant parmigiana.
Tables are set with rose-gold cutlery, the bar is a marble-like bleached pine, and the whole space feels like a high-end cafe.