With Georgia Spanos
In just short of a week we will witness Melbourne transform into a citywide date night for Valentine’s Day, and for some reason, Italian food just feels right. Whether you’re treating your lady, confronting your crush or having absolutely nothing to do with this ghastly celebration, I have all of your Italian cravings covered. Tucked away in the sweet 'Bond Street' of South Yarra lives a young Italian Café, Mr Bond opened by the not so young 38 Chairs who have been a staple Italian restaurant for many years. The cafe's secret courtyard makes for a delightful summer evening in a peaceful and romantic space away from the Chapel Street hustle. They are also offering a Valentines menu graced with their most popular dishes (beef and pork rigatoni ragu is a must). Romantic, yes, yet I dined here on the weekend with a girlfriend and it was just as perfect for a fun lengthy lunch. The passionate waitress even suggested a vino from her hometown in Italy which was soulful and really special.
What could be more Italian and classically romantic than Mauro, founder and owner of Pausa Pranzo (literally translating to lunch break), delivering his homemade cheese ravioli, meatball panini's and Italian potato salad to your doorstep on his red Vespa? Perhaps if Mauro were carrying a bunch of red roses in his mouth too, but other than that, I can’t think of anything more spectacular. If you are of the lucky bunch to live in Northcote/Preston/Thornbury consider yourself incredibly spoilt to have Pausa Pranzo as an option. Mauro's ravioli are known to be only of Nonna quality and his paninis the most delicious form of simplicity I think Melbourne has to offer. Mauro perfectly depicts the passion and love Italian's have for cooking and life.
SPQR Pizzeria is most certainly the vibe. Their authentic wood-fire pizzas are made from sour-dough delivering a certain light and fluffy sensation comparable only with pizza's from Napoli itself. If this isn't enough, the upbeat owners behind the venture (David Mackintosh, Tom and Natalie Gaden) invest just as much love into creating an electric and unforgettable atmosphere, made up of impressive vinyl selectors and notable street artists curated from all around the world. Excitingly, SPQR launch a new menu this week welcoming wood-fire prawns and porchetta as a main. However, if I was granted only one SPQR wish, it would have to be their margherita pizza which I can still taste to this day.