‘Amble’ means to walk at a slow, relaxed pace. So, when Italian brothers Marco and Joseph Assanti opened Amble on Flinders Lane, that’s exactly what they had in mind.
“Because of where we are, and the city being so fast-paced, we really want to create a vibe that’s chill, open, spacious and inviting,” says Marco.
Taking over from Toby’s Estate, the newly renno’d space is just inside Customs House. Trading contemporary décor for softer colours and edges, you’ll be hard pressed to find a surface that isn’t rounded out.
The kitchen sits behind the counter, separated by a golden striped window. High bars sit alongside the entrance and by the coffee machine, perfect for city-goers getting work done while waiting for their caffeine fix.
Marco and Joseph play to their individual strengths. Marco’s passion for coffee and customer service sees him splitting his time between the coffee machine and serving, whereas Joseph’s experience as a chef in restaurants throughout Australia, England and Canada means he’s heading up the kitchen.
The pair grew up around food—their grandfather was a baker and father owned a family restaurant—but it was their year-long adventure through South America that inspired them to open their own place.
Currently open Monday to Friday, Amble offers a refuge for city workers looking to pimp their usual lunch break. Something a little fancier than a simple banh mi.
“Our biggest focus is quality in customer service,” says Marco, “If people walk by and they see a line they don’t want to wait. We want to offer a place where you can grab your coffee first thing in the morning in under seven minutes, no matter how busy we are.”
Amble’s coffee is provided by Small Batch Roasting Co, a roaster Marco is especially proud to serve.
“Small Batch is our gift to Melbourne because it’s not really available in the CBD,” he says, “Andrew Kelly is a hero of mine and we really believe in what they’re doing.”
The menu is seasonal and reasonably priced, with rotating fresh produce sourced from Queen Vic Market. Meals vary from Melbourne staples like the Rueben (dead set delicious) to sweeter dishes like ricotta and mixed berry crepes.
By focusing on simplicity and consistency, Marco wants Amble to give people a memorable experience, every single time. An experience he breaks down in an egg-cellent analogy: “It’s as simple as this, the sun hits the table every time, your eggs are good every time.”
Other favourites include the mixed mushroom bruschetta, the benedict with chorizo from locals Savour and Grace, and the feel-good bowl with crispy skin salmon.
“We want our food to be familiar yet creative,” says Marco, “A lot of people have their friends come to Melbourne to try the food, so we want to have enough on the menu that they can have a Melbourne dish, but not like they’ve had it before.”
Image credit: Annika Kafcaloudis