PLAYMAKER
The Playmaker
Let's play
PLAYMAKER
  • It's Saturday
    What day is it?
  • Now
    What time is it?
  • Anywhere in Melbourne
    Where are you?
  • What do you feel like?
    What do you feel like?
  • And what else?
    And what else?
  • LET'S PLAY
17° & CLOUDY ON SATURDAY 15 DECEMBER IN MELBOURNE
FOOD & DRINK

Carlton's Historic King and Godfree Is Set to Reopen as a Three-Level Italian Food Mecca

The 135-year-old institution now has a cafe, deli, rooftop eatery and wine bar.
By Marissa Ciampi and Samantha Teague
December 07, 2018
  shares

Carlton's Historic King and Godfree Is Set to Reopen as a Three-Level Italian Food Mecca

The 135-year-old institution now has a cafe, deli, rooftop eatery and wine bar.
By Marissa Ciampi and Samantha Teague
December 07, 2018
  shares

One of Melbourne's original grocers is making a major comeback this week as King and Godfree is revitalised into K&G Deli and Espresso Bar. The enormous upgrade will be unveiled as the Italian grocer finally reopens this Saturday, December 8.

The Carlton grocery shop dates way back to 1884, and has been under the Valmorbida family ownership since 1955 — Carlo Valmorbida is said to have introduced parmesan cheese, olive oil and pasta to the Carlton community. Now, the Valmorbida grandchildren are in charge, and they're set to reveal a fully refurbished fit-out that pays homage to the original heritage digs, but with modern twists.

Designed by Melbourne architects Herbert & Mason, the fit-out combines elements of old-world Italy with a modern Melbourne espresso bar. Expect bespoke everything, from the custom-built lighting and furniture down to the handmade deli plates, by local ceramicist Ingrid Tuft. The original K&G crest has also been rebuilt by an old-fashioned terrazzo maker and inlaid at the entrance.

The Roman-style delicatessen aims to be your 'one-stop shop' for everything Italian, and houses an espresso bar, deli and traditional grocer. In the espresso bar, expect house-roasted coffee by head barista Lucas Carrington (ex-All Press, London), along with Italian espresso and fair trade Guatemalan single origin. For breakfast, there are also fresh juices and smoothies, plus Italian baked goods and breakfast plates — these include the fried egg, pancetta and basil panino and scrambled eggs with cured salmon, chives and toast.

During the day, there's a succinct list of pastas and cicchetti (Italian-style tapas) to choose from, as well as rotisserie meats, roasted veggies, ready-made Italian sandwiches and daily specials. The cicchetti will also be available for classic aperitivo hour from 47pm — think arancini, sweet and sour sardines and spinach pie, all served alongside spritzes, cocktails and Italian beers.

In the deli, there are freshly baked breads, a massive assortment of local and imported cheeses, artisan salumi and DOP accredited prosciutto to look forward to. Italian smallgoods, fresh flowers and meals for takeaway round out the offering. Deciding what to buy will be the hard part, but luckily there will be plenty of tastings and demonstrations on offer, too.

Opening alongside K&G Deli and Espresso Bar (or, should we say, on top of) is Johnny's Green Room. Taking its name from an old 1960s Carlton haunt, the relaxed rooftop bar has stunning views across Melbourne.  Opening from noon til late, daily, Johnny's will be serving up a range of cocktails on tap — including Carlton classic the Northside, negronis and espresso martinis — as well as a slew of local and international beer and wine.

You'll be able to eat up here, too. Take a seat on one of the banquettes — made from repurposed terrazzo steps — and dig in to classic Roman pasta dishes, like the cacio e pepe or rigatoni pomodoro; pork and fennel sausage rolls; and antipasto plates made with meats and cheeses from the downstairs deli. Pidapipo, also part of the building and run by Carlo's granddaughter Lisa, will be providing choc tops for dessert.

While this incarnation of Johnny's Green Room won't have pool tables and gangsters, it will still have a bit of a nightclub vibe with a lineup of DJs, chosen by Hope Street Radio, taking to the decks regularly.

The reopened King and Godfree has a lot going on, and a wine bar, dubbed Agostino, is set to join the party soon, too. The intimate, 50-seat wine bar — inspired by classic Italian enotecas — will open its doors late next week.

cp-line

The K&G Deli, Grocer and Espresso Bar and Johnny's Green Room will open on Saturday, December 8 at 293-297 Lygon Street, Carlton. 

Images: Josh Robenstone.

Published on December 07, 2018 by Marissa Ciampi

Tap and select Add to Home Screen to access Concrete Playground easily next time. x