Considering Brunetti's burst onto the Carlton scene in 1991, before the wheel was invented, you've got to applaud their stamina. What doesn't get talked about so much is their invention. But that's exactly what the team are trying to change with their brand new cafe, which has just popped up on Flinders Ln.
“We’re always looking for ways to reinvent ourselves. We want Brunetti Flinders Lane to be known as a dining destination in Melbourne, a philosophy which we haven’t had the opportunity to fully explore since acquiring Carlton in 1991,” Director Yuri Angele says.
The new store seats a cool 300 hungry customers, similar to the sprawling Carlton digs. Brunetti has brought on Executive Chef Simon Moss (ex Entrecote, Sapore and Wildfire Sydney) to design the new-look menu. Something cheffy and sophisticated for the CBD crowd. Think elegant comfort food like Gnocchi alla Bolognese, topped with Moss’s take on gremolata—thin crispy garlic chips, parsley, olive oil and lemon zest. Or maybe punchy Italian Vittelo Tonnato with slow-poached veal slices, tuna mayonnaise, shaved radish, chopped chive and baby capers, served as a bruschetta on some crusty AF sourdough.
Of course, they've still got house-baked cakes and treats coming out the kahooza. This isn't the sort of place where, when the waiter approached with that 'Can I tempt you?' look in his eye, you pat your stomach and wave him away. Want our advice? Leave the gun, eat all of the cannoli.
In other big news, the new Brunetti's features a dedicated campari bar. That means Aperol Spritz's flying at you left right and centre (and just in time for summer, too). The coffee blend is an exclusive in-house collab between Brunetti and Italian powerhouse Lavazza (a first for both brands). It's roasted right here in the northern suburbs.
The attention to detail in the new space feels fresh. There's a definite push towards the NEW. Check out the 15m high mural behind the main coffee bar, painted by illustrator Filipe Jardim. Or the hand-made crockery, courtesy of renowned Bendigo-based ceramic artist Glenn Tebble. The fit-out itself was inspired by the Italiano gelato bars of the 50s and 60s. That whole sun-drenched Amalfi aesthetic.
If Brunetti were looking to reinvent themselves, they couldn't have done a better job.
Image credit: Brunetti