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.