13° & CLOUDY ON SUNDAY 30 APRIL IN MELBOURNE
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With Fatto meaning 'stuffed' in Italian, this riverside cantina and bar might just be a self-fulfilling prophecy.

An Italian slang word for 'stuffed' (among other things), Fatto might just be a self-fulfilling prophecy. With appetisers such as potted chicken and nduja salami, salt cod arancini and 12-hour pork panino (all $13-14), a selection of 'salumi e formaggi' (cured meats and cheeses) and zucchini flowers stuffed with prawns ($29) or Sicilian lamb chops ($26) for main, it's difficult not to do the name justice. And that's before you've even laid eyes on the chocolate cannoli and espresso granita for dessert.

This restaurant and bar, superbly placed on the upper terrace at Hamer Hall, overlooking the river and Flinders Street station on the other side, is fresh, contemporary and sophisticated with a fun, relaxed vibe. Everything is on point; nothing and no one seems to be trying too hard, making the whole experience feel seamlessly relaxed. The decor of the space — designed by Projects of Imagination — is strikingly simple: bright white tiled walls and bar, black accents and neon signage. It feels pleasantly New York-esque. There's an Italian authenticity to the food that's based on strong, simple flavours, establishing Fatto as an interesting and appealing Southbank dining option.

Much of the menu is designed to be shared and you will be encouraged to order just from the wide selection of the appetisers and salumi, if that's your fancy. Eating a pasta or risotto almost seems wrong when there are such fabulous options elsewhere on the menu. The potted chicken appetiser with nduja salami, fennel and cucumber, for example, is rich and tasty, and described by one of our Gen Y diners as simply "phenom".

Of course, if you're just looking for a place to perch and drink Prosecco, this is a fine spot to do so. I am sure many a crisis has been solved and many a deal done here over a Fernet Branca (served with freshly pressed orange or grapefruit juice), Negroni or Aperol Spritz.

Dining or drinking here may feel like a treat — enjoy a pre-dinner aperitif outside while the sun sets over the CBD beyond the river — but it is worthy of becoming a regular spot. For nearby workers or wandering tourists, Fatto is open from 11am each day serving coffee, pastries and paninis which you can take away or eat in while observing the city's corporate mania from a safe distance.

Published on April 09, 2014 by Julia Gaw

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