Cucina Povera Vino Vero | Melbourne City List

It’s been in the works for a while, but Cucina Povera Vino Vero has just opened in Melbourne. The joint venture between Icebergs restaurateur, Maurice Terzini, and celebrity Melbourne chef, Joseph Vargetto (Mr Bianco), is a celebration of their shared culture; both children of Italian migrants, Maurice’s parents from the Abruzzo region and Joe’s from Sicily. “We’re not just opening an Italian restaurant; it’s really opening up memories of Mauritius, my memories of Italian-Australian childhood, it’s memories of my parents settling here, this immigrant culture,” says Joe .

The name “Cucina Povera” or “Cibo Povero” means “bad cuisine or bad food; which, in Italy at the beginning of the 20th century, referred to making the most of the seasonal products and ingredients that were available to you. “The philosophy was don’t throw anything away, make sure you have food for tomorrow,” says Joe. This mindset is that everything is used, top to bottom; basically, it’s the origin of zero waste cooking. “It’s about not wasting – make sure you take a second-rate cut but make it look good with your technique.”

Cucina Povera is a departure from your conventional Italian, “it’s not a place just for tiramisu and burrata, it’s more than that,” says Joe. From turnips (usually tossed) that are seasoned and fried with chickpeas, lemon juice, and chili, to a slow-braised pork jowl that’s served with roasted chestnuts and parsnips, there’s plenty of flavor diversity here. . A star attraction is the homemade Gnudi, a soft gnocchi made with ricotta that is then bathed in a buttery sauce of mashed endive and broccoletti.

While the food may have a common aesthetic, the place certainly doesn’t follow suit. The former Massi space is now unrecognizable with a sleek garage-industrial feel. Floor staff in white jackets and aprons reinforce this elevated service experience. The wine list has been meticulously hand selected and favors natural processes, resulting in a range of drops rich in flavor but with lower alcohol volume. Cucina Povera Vino Vero opens today Wednesday June 29, go here to reserve a table.

Check out some of the best Italian restaurants in Melbourne here.

Image credit: Cucina Povera (provided)

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