Friday, 29 July 2011

Italian bistro Lupino opens on Little Collins Street

41 Little Collins Street, Melbourne (map)
9639 0333
Open lunch and dinner, 7 days

Look for the little neon wolf!

Lupino exterior

Lupino, the new bistro and bar from Becco alums Richard Lodge and chef Marco Lori, opened on Wednesday. It's located at the top end of Little Collins Street in the site formerly occupied by the Champagne Lounge, next door to Bar Lourinhã. Lupino means 'little wolf' in Italian, so it's only fitting that a neon wolf cub's head marks the venue entrance.

Lupino interior

The interior is trattoria-casual: lots of orange tiles, wicker-backed chairs, an open kitchen and nary a starched tablecloth in sight. The menu is pretty short and snappy, including bar snacks and antipasti, half a dozen pasta dishes and a few more substantial secondi. They also have a wonderfully minimalist pizza menu (Margarita or Prosciutto or Garlic & Rosemary or Anchovy), which warmed my "pizza: less is more" heart.

Lupino interior

When I dropped in for lunch on Thursday with my Sydney friend J, he ordered the veal tortelloni with fresh tomato, bocconcini, basil and brodo ($22). I had an excellent risotto of rabbit, porcini, pancetta and green olives ($24). A glass each of Devil Bend Creek Pinot Noir sealed the deal.

Tortelloni and risotto

J loves apple and pastry, so ordering the apple strudel ($14) was a given. He loved it. My eye was caught by the promise of bomboloni with imported Italian Nutella ($14, and yes, the difference in taste for the imported stuff is noticeable). HOLY HELL they were epic, both in terms of size and the generous slatherings of Nutella. They tasted damn authentic though, like the ones I used to buy when I lived over in Italy. The scoop of slightly sharp yoghurt ice cream was a nice touch. But play it smart and share this dessert with another person.

Or if you're feeling brave (and don't need to go back to the office afterwards), order the Scroppino - lemon gelato and Prosecco with a shot of vodka.

Lupino desserts

The windows looking out over Ridgway Place, offering glimpses of the Melbourne Club's tropical Secret garden.

Lupino window

This corner of the CBD just gets better and better: as well as Lourinhã you've got Danny and Siany at Liaison (happily, now a regular coffee haunt of mine since I started my new job), Mamasita, and - coming soon - San Telmo. San Telmo is the Argentinian restaurant that Jason McConnell (from The Aviary, and cousin of Andrew and Matt) is going to open in Meyers Place, once the fancy-pants custom-made grill manages to make its way over here on a boat from South America. Quietly hoping San Telmo will be Melbourne's Porteño!


Chele said...

Oh how I miss Australia!

Anonymous said...

we were there of a friday night, very busy, worth the wait - loved the gnocchi quatro formaggi - the bread is sensational!!!!! (made on the premises)trent

Ashley said...

Wow! The meal looks sensational, love the look of that Italian Nutella!! Is it getting quite busy already? :)

ziz said...

Went there Sunday night (it was quiet, lots of tables - this pleased us!) Loved it, will go back regularly.

Anonymous said...

Got there late-ish on Saturday night, wasn't too busy at all. By coincidence, my partner and I ordered the tortelloni, risotto and bomboloni, was very nice.

Anonymous said...

Went there on Friday night around 8.00pm and was surprised in how busy it was. I had the pleasure to sit close to where the food was being prepared. It was a great experience and fun to watch. What made it even more enjoyable is the willingness of Marco and co to interact with us. The seafood pasta was brilliant. While desert was even better. Will back again!

Anonymous said...

fantastic! also so looking forward to San Telmo. Malbec, Asado and Dulce de Leche in town after work. Que Vida !!