Lunch Review: Santucci's
The kids were thrown the keys to a new joint and given a carte blanche to go nuts – such is the founding story of Santucci's Cafe on Toorak Rd in Camberwell. With the family cafe already well established in Carnegie – siblings Massimo, Fabian and Romina were given licence to open another venue under the established Santucci name.
They chose an ancient delicatessen and moulded it to resemble the family living room with handpainted landscapes framed on the walls and an assortment of kitchen tables on the paint speckled cement floor adorned with fresh flowers. The homely atmosphere seems almost contrived until Fabian offered for me the history of almost everything I could see. The table taken from card playing nuns by him and his father, the flowers picked that morning on the way to work from a nearby park and the post card his mother found endearing and decided to frame – Santucci's does not do authenticity by halves.
The same attitude is taken to its food – the cherry clafoutis, a creamy and moist tart is a family speciality and is unlikely to be confused with a Sara Lee. While the towering steps of French toast, strawberries and vanilla bean mascarpone also hold true to their first impression – being just as easy on the taste buds as it was on the eye. Mascarpone, which finds its way gloriously into the French toast, seems to be a Santucci staple and I wouldn't be surprised if a cheeky dollop made its way into the super creamy Santuchai milkshake I sampled. The real gem in this Italian treasure chest is without a doubt though Nonna Santucci's biscotti accompanied by an expertly brewed coffee. With their unique character, the chewy coconut and apricot macaroon, rich chocolate baci and the wholesome sultana and oat biscotti really bring an afternoon tea to life, painting the inside of your mouth with a vibrant fresco to make Michelangelo jealous.
Santucci's sticks to its family values and delivers an unpretentious homely cafe experience that delivers on all fronts.
Santucci’s is located at 1392 Toorak Rd, Camberwell, as well as the original café located at 94 Koornang Rd, Carnegie. Both cafés are open 7am – 4:30pm every day.