On Monday, 7 December, Carolina Group’s Joe Mammone, Marco Tenuta and David Dellai (Bar Carolina, Marameo, Tetto di Carolina) reopened the doors to their iconic Melbourne Italian dining room Il Bacaro, revealing a refresh that sees the beloved CBD institution venture back to its Venetian roots.
“It’s Il Bacaro’s 25-year anniversary in December, meaning it’s time to look back at what we’ve achieved and look to the future. It’s out with the yellow and in with the blue,” says Mammone.
The venue will continue to place equal emphasis on its drinking and dining offering, seeing the Il Bacaro experience as a marriage of the two.
From the pass, diners can anticipate a simple yet refined approach to Venetian cuisine using Victorian produce from Co-Owner and Carolina Group Executive Chef Dellai, with highlights to include:
● Crudo di mare – Red prawn, kingfish, tuna, oysters, scallops,
● Ricotta and lemon curd cappellacci, braised rabbit, pine nuts
● Poached cod, watermelon consommé, pickled cucumber, fennel, dill,
● Limoncello baba, white chocolate and mascarpone semifreddo, lemon
Il Bacaro loyalists need not fear, signatures like the Moreton Bay bug spaghettini and agave nectar cheesecake will stay on the menu, receiving a contemporary refresh while retaining their exquisitely balanced flavours.
Afternoons between services are dedicated to Venice’s second most celebrated cocktail, the bellini, which Mammone taps to soon win favour over the spritz. Patrons can keep it classic with peach or try botanical flavours concocted with summer in mind, like lavender or cucumber and lemon thyme.
A 400-reference wine list by Sommeliers Thomas Maiden (Jackalope) and Marco Abbarchi (Grossi Florentino, Tipo 00) shows a strong presence of Italian wines with a Venetian focus – expect to see back vintages from Tedeschi and Giuseppe Quintarelli – along with elegant Australian pours.
A longtime collaborator of Mammone’s, Chris Connell (Chris Connell Design) – whose original design for the iconic space was inducted into the Eat Drink Design Awards Hall of Fame in 2016 – is behind the refresh, which features a palette of walnut timber, polished concrete render, white Carrara marble, dark chocolate leather and light sky blue. Italian string lighting by Viabizzuno will set the intimate, moody ambience in the dining room, where staff in crisp white Venetian-style waiters’ jackets by Fitzroy label B.O.Y.D. will deliver polished service at tables cloaked in classic white linen.
“The simple elegance and romance that Il Bacaro is known for will remain, but with a realigned regional focus. Seeing as people can’t travel overseas right now, we hope to bring them Little Venice on Little Collins,” says Mammone.
168–170 Little Collins Street, Melbourne VIC 3000
(03) 9654 6778
Website | Facebook | Instagram
Images: Kristoffer Paulsen