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FOOD & DRINK

The Newest 400 Gradi Has Rolled Into Mornington With a Restaurant, Bar, Gelateria and Delicatessen

Head coastward for award-winning pizzas, seafood specials and some very snazzy cocktails.
By Libby Curran
July 27, 2021
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By Libby Curran
July 27, 2021
  shares

Johnny di Francesco's award-winning pizza empire has just got bigger. His latest venture, a new two-level precinct on Mornington's buzzy Main street, boasts a 400 Gradi restaurant; a Zero Gradi Gelateria and Dessert Bar; and the latest edition of di Francesco's delicatessen concept, Gradi Mercato. It's the first time a standalone Gradi site has played host to all three venues — a trio the restaurateur likens to the classic Neapolitan ice cream.

"It creates a little something for everyone and every occasion," di Francesco said of the venue in a media statement. "We've waited a long time to find the perfect spot in the peninsula and we're very much looking forward to meeting the locals and becoming part of the Mornington community."

Inside, earthy tones, elegant finishes and terrazzo countertops carry on the familiar 400 Gradi aesthetic across two spacious levels. Downstairs houses a casual wine and snack bar for drinks and antipasto sessions, plus a chic dining room. Upstairs the restaurant space features its own bar, al fresco terrace and balcony with coastal views.

A kitchen headed up by Pierre Khodja (Pinchy's, Camus) and 400 Gradi pizzaiolo Giuseppe Fortunato won't be straying too far from the signatures. This menu covers the full lineup of 400 Gradi favourites, alongside a raft of new seafood-centric 'al mare' additions inspired by the venue's coastal location. Classics like the meatballs in napoli, tagliatelle alla bolognese and the legendary World's Best Pizza titleholder Margherita Verace sit beside newcomers including a spaghettini al granchio with lobster bisque and crab meat, and a dish of lobster cooked on the Josper. A supporting cocktail list employs plenty of creative flair, with sips like a passionfruit and cardamom margarita, a bacon-garnished 'breakfast' old fashioned, and the Ruby Rose Martini sporting a crown of dry ice.

Breakfast Old Fashioned, by Kristoffer Paulsen

Meanwhile, Zero Gradi and Gradi Mercato have their own space on the lower level, with the former slinging the brand's trademark offering of hand-churned gelato and artisan sweet treats. And the deli promises to be a one-stop shop for those wanting to continue the Italian vibe at home, stocked with a hefty array of ready-to-heat meals, fresh pasta, antipasto trimmings, dinner kits, pantry goods and more.

In addition to this Mornington newcomer, 400 Gradi has local outposts in East Brunswick, Essendon and Ringwood, and at Crown. 400 Gradi Mornington Peninsula is the sixth sibling in the Australian 400 Gradi family and is set to re-open its doors tomorrow Wednesday, July 28 — the perfect way to celebrate the end of lockdown 5.0.

Find Gradi Group Mornington at 25 Main Street, Mornington. 400 Gradi is open from 12pm–late daily, while Zero Gradi Gelateria and Dessert Bar, and Gradi Mercato are open from 8am–late daily. Gradi Mornington will re-open on Wednesday, July 28 and bookings are open now via the website.

Images: Kristoffer Paulsen

Published on July 27, 2021 by Libby Curran

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