// you’re reading...

casual, child-friendly, italian, mid-range, pizza, burgers & hot dogs, restaurants and cafes, st kilda

HOT: Itali.co, 1/173-177 Barkly St, St Kilda

DSC07650 540x348 HOT: Itali.co, 1/173 177 Barkly St, St Kilda

The partnership of Remo Nicollini, restauranteur, and Lino Maglione, master pizza maker, have recently opened a new casual Italian eatery called Itali.co in St Kilda. The two previously owned award winning pizzerias +39 and one of my CBD pizza haunts Espressino, then moved away to build the original Itali.co in Sorrento and start Docklands favourite Non Solo Pasta.

I was invited to sample selected dishes from Itali.co‘s current and incoming Autumn menu and my meal highlighted that the kitchen of Itali.co does everything with care and consideration under head chef Piero Roldo, previously of South Yarra stalwart Da Noi and his Sardinian assistants.

DSC07654 386x540 HOT: Itali.co, 1/173 177 Barkly St, St Kilda

DSC07658 383x540 HOT: Itali.co, 1/173 177 Barkly St, St Kilda

While it’s time consuming, the pastas are made in house, even down to the squid ink used in the tagliolini which will be appearing in the new menu with a large shell of Moreton Bay bug and a generous melange snapper, calamari and prawns in a simple tomato sauce.

DSC07700 540x343 HOT: Itali.co, 1/173 177 Barkly St, St Kilda

The charcuterie and cheeses are mostly imported from Italy, all presented impressively as a decorative feature in a cold fridge.

DSC07689 398x540 HOT: Itali.co, 1/173 177 Barkly St, St Kilda

The wine list is a mix of Australian and imported and bottles are similarly lined in a glass feature wall by the bar.

For entertainment value watch the pizza makers at work. Lino comes from a long line of Neapolitan pizza makers and his recipe is simple – a mix of Italian and Australian flour, very cold water, Italian salt.

DSC07675 540x373 HOT: Itali.co, 1/173 177 Barkly St, St Kilda

The bases are ‘opened’ on the Carrara marble bench with a few deft circles as the orders come reeling in – he doesn’t believe in lining up bases ready to go as it affects the taste and texture. Bases are smeared with homemade sugo of tomato, olive oil, salt before toppings are added. Simple.

DSC07668 540x351 HOT: Itali.co, 1/173 177 Barkly St, St Kilda

The pizzas are then lifted off the bench onto an aluminium shovel with a sieve (so loose flour doesn’t burn in the oven or on the pizza base) and slid immediately into the mouth of an impressive piece of machinery – a $50,000 Marana pizza oven which combines the smokeyness and flavour of wood grill with the consistency of a gas oven. The oven has a unique rotating plate with air circulating through a honeycomb structure in the stone that allows a single pizza maker to perfectly cook up to 18 pizzas at a time in about 2 minutes!

DSC07670 421x540 HOT: Itali.co, 1/173 177 Barkly St, St Kilda

The end result is quite amazing. A paper-thin base charred to a perfect crispness and with an impressive strength in holding the weight of toppings. Nothing slides off! Definitely one of the best pizza bases I’ve had in Melbourne and enhanced by quality of ingredients such as in the simple Regina Margherita – tomato, fresh mozzarella, fresh basil and extra virgin Ligurian olive oil ($15).DSC07712 540x307 HOT: Itali.co, 1/173 177 Barkly St, St Kilda

The must-try pizza is the one recently crowned best pizza by The Age Good Food Under $30 guide. It’s called ‘Bunga Bunga’ ($18.50), so named after the nickname of notorious Italian politician Silvio Berlusconi because it contains Italian sausage! Add to that smoked scamorza, friarielli (Neapolitan broccoli) and a little bit of a pick-me-up in the form of the fresh chilli oil offered at every table and it’s a winner in my book too.

DSC07718 540x283 HOT: Itali.co, 1/173 177 Barkly St, St Kilda

Of the non-pizza dishes highlights include the fat nuggets of seared scallop paired with large quenelles of creamy cauliflower ‘pannacotta’ and slow cooked boneless rack of rabbit filled with sun-dried tomatoes, olives and basil served with a surprisingly delicious flaky red cabbage strudel ($16.50), both from the starters section.

DSC07691 540x291 HOT: Itali.co, 1/173 177 Barkly St, St Kilda

DSC07694 540x359 HOT: Itali.co, 1/173 177 Barkly St, St Kilda

If you’re not in the mood for pizza or want to pair it with other dishes then there’s a selection of meat and fish main courses as well. My recommendation goes to a very juicy piece of pan-fried crispy skinned barramundi served with a jumble of eggplant caponata and fleshy mussels.

DSC07709 540x323 HOT: Itali.co, 1/173 177 Barkly St, St Kilda

For dessert the house specialty is the cassata ($11). It’s not the ice cream and glace fruit dessert I expect but the Sicilian version of the sweet, which is a combination of sponge, the freshest ricotta, fruit and nuts. Itali.co serves it with some strawberries and a cartoonish splash of dark chocolate fondue.

DSC07732 427x540 HOT: Itali.co, 1/173 177 Barkly St, St Kilda

The space can get noisy as the sound bounces from the black and white Escher pattern tiling to the stone floors and the ceramic table tops. If the weather’s balmy you can sup under the small terrace instead.

With excellent food at prices like these, I predict Itali.co will do extremely well. Andiamo!

Itali.co, 1/173-177 Barkly Street, St Kilda +61 3 9537 5300

5pm till late 7 days a week

minilink HOT: Itali.co, 1/173 177 Barkly St, St Kilda

 

pixel HOT: Itali.co, 1/173 177 Barkly St, St Kilda

Discussion

No comments for “HOT: Itali.co, 1/173-177 Barkly St, St Kilda”

Post a comment

Twitter ID
(ID only. No links or "@" symbols)

Welcome to MEL: HOT OR NOT

The decisive guide to Melbourne

Reviews of what's HOT and NOT in the city.

Recent Posts

HOT: Éclair Affair High Tea, Lobby Lounge, The Westin Melbourne, 250 Collins St, Melbourne
April 16, 2014
HOT: StArt Up: Top Arts 2014, Ian Potter Centre: NGV Australia, Federation Square, Melbourne
April 14, 2014
HOT: Hawthorn Common, 302 Burwood Rd, Hawthorn
April 11, 2014
HOT: Hero Subs, 1 Stewart Street, Tenancy 1, back of RMIT SAB Building 80, 445 Swanston St, Melbourne
April 9, 2014

Click for more in Archives

Get in touch

Want to say hello, ask questions, give feedback, advertise on the site? Email me at joyce@melhotornot.com

LIKE me on Facebook

We’re featured in LonelyPlanet.com

I'm a featured blogger on Lonely Planet
MEL: HOT OR NOT - The decisive guide to Melbourne Melbourne restaurants

Twitter Updates

    Categories

    Editorial policy

    Get Adobe Flash player