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Capitano Is the Bar Liberty Crew's New Corner Italo-Aus Diner

It's serving Italian food with an Aussie edge and revamped classic cocktails in the Beaufort's former Carlton space.
By Libby Curran
August 17, 2018
By Libby Curran
August 17, 2018

The team behind Fitzroy's Bar Liberty — Michael Bascetta, Banjo Harris Plane, Manu Potoi and Casey Wall — has cracked the lid on its hotly anticipated new venture, opening the doors to Italo-Aussie haunt Capitano this week. The project's settled right into the former Carlton digs of The Beaufort, though you'll have a hard time recognising any signs of the former dive bar — it looks entirely different.

The black-and-neon get-up of yesterday has been switched for something an all pastel green interior with olive banquettes and a cheery red trim. Even the windows have been freed from all that paint, giving the room its first taste of sunshine in a whole lot of years.

To match the new approachable setting, the food speaks to chef and co-owner Wall's take on Australian-accented Italian, the menu centred around rotating selections of pasta and pizza. The opening lineup runs from a classic cheese pizza, customised with your choice of local ingredients, to a pie topped with sausage, fennel, pickled chilli and red onion. There's a snack-happy selection of cured meats and antipasti for the cocktail hour crowd, a spread of crafty vegetable dishes, and heartier stuff, like a bone-in veal parmigiana. Of course, the menu wouldn't be complete without tiramisu — and Capitano's is banging.

As far as the drinks go, Bar Liberty's set the boys some pretty high expectations. Here, it's all about the revamped classic Italian cocktails, Amari in a raft of iterations, and a wine list that celebrates fun Italian varietals both from overseas and closer to home.

It's all dished up to a new-wave disco soundtrack compiled by front-of-house manager and former music producer Sam Rogers.

Capitano is now open at 421 Rathdowne Street, Carlton from 5.30pm weekdays and 12pm weekends.

Images: Kate Shanasy.

Published on August 17, 2018 by Libby Curran


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