In Italian, ‘osteria’ translates to ‘tavern’, traditionally a place where people can enjoy simple food and wine, served fresh and sourced locally. In Melbourne, Lt. Osteria translates to much the same – it’s a light and bright cafe where local, seasonal produce informs a brunch menu full of fresh flavours.
Nicole Thomson and Nunzio Vizzini are the pair behind the venture. They purchased the cafe three years ago, but it wasn’t until a re-brand in mid- 2016 that the pair were able to create a space that was truly theirs, sharing a love of modern Italian cuisine and fresh produce. To bring this vision to life, they turned to Zwei Interiors and Architecture; together they converted the Goldsborough Lane space into a light-filled open venue, with cascading green foliage and light timber interiors. The aesthetic reflects the Italianinspired menu, with Spacecraft-designed botanical prints of wild fennel originating from Italy and Australian gum visually uniting the two cultures and symbolising the fusion of cuisines.
Open for breakfast and lunch weekdays, Lt. Osteria looks after the foodie needs of the surrounding corporate offices, as well as visitors who pass by its large front windows. It operates on the ethos of ‘good food, good wine, good friends’ or as the Italians say, ‘buon cibo, buon vino, buoni amici’, recognising busy business workers’ needs for good-quality fare that’s also convenient.
Therefore, in creating the menu, Nicole and Nunzio looked to what was available locally and what the Chef could make in-house. Bread arrives fresh from Noisette and fresh produce is delivered to the intimate kitchen where Head Chef Tuomas Viirret and his kitchen hand get to work. Australian produce meets Italian tradition – the team makes everything from pasta to cakes by hand, and turns out flavour combinations that will make your tastebuds sing.
If you’re nearby in the morning, take a seat to enjoy Lt. Osteria’s take on crushed avocado, served on sourdough with heirloom tomatoes, baby radish, Meredith goat’s cheese and a poached egg. Come lunchtime, dishes veer in the direction of delicious pastas and proteins, including spaghetti di gamberi – local king prawns with heirloom cherry tomatoes, chilli, garlic and fresh herbs. Try the risotto con funghi – porcini and enoki mushrooms finished with truffle oil and aged parmesan, or opt for the polpette al sugo – meatballs cooked in tomato passata, fresh basil and pecorino, served with ciabatta.
An ever-changing list of specials ensures there’s something new to try upon every visit, but one certainty will always be the quality of the coffee. Nicole and Nunzio have entrusted Reverence Coffee Roasters with the task of delivering beautiful beans, perfectly paired with St David’s Dairy milk. Tea comes courtesy of local family-owned supplier Tease tea, and for those after a tipple, there’s also a boutique wine list with plenty of Italian varietals and refreshing beers to try.
Don’t have time to sit down? Order a coffee, served in soon-to-be-iconic mint cups, and grab a cake on the run – will it be the gluten-free chocolate and raspberry brownie or the lemon and coconut slice?
Step inside the doors at Lt. Osteria and you’ll discover a little urban oasis in the middle of the city, serving delicious fare and carefully crafted coffee with heart and passion.