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Now Open: Chapel Street's Four-Level Italian Haunt Stella Has Landed in Time for Spring Rooftop Sips

A modern take on the classic Italian trattoria, with a space for every occasion.
By Libby Curran
October 05, 2022
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By Libby Curran
October 05, 2022
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A four-layer slice of Italian flavour and sophistication has just carved out a home on Chapel Street — and your summer sipping and pasta-twirling plans will be all the better for it. The multi-storey Stella has opened in a heritage-listed corner building in South Yarra, with a whole assortment of offerings awaiting you between the basement level and the sun-drenched rooftop bar.

Here, owner Ali Mousavi is dishing up a contemporary Aussie take on the classic Italian trattoria, inspired by childhood years spent in and around his family's own Italian eatery. Stella is also the name of his daughter.

Kate Pascoe

Inside, an elegant fitout by Projects of Imagination and SUM Design Studio has lent each space its own identity while tying it back in seamlessly to the rest of the building. First, you've got the historic bluestone walls and back-lit cabinets of cellared vino gracing the subterranean private dining room.

Up on the ground floor, a light-filled restaurant space makes a statement of the kitchen's impressive Golden Onyx Marana Forni pizza oven; while above sits a moodier lounge bar lined with emerald banquettes and sporting a hand-crafted light installation hung with hundreds of glass bottles.

Make your way one floor further to find the all-season openair rooftop terrace, with its lush vertical garden and vistas across the inner-south. You'll spy more of that onyx gleaming the length of the terrace bar, too.

Parker Blain

It's a choose-your-own-adventure kind of venue, with a food offering — by Executive Chef John Park (Vue de Monde, 400 Gradi) — to match. Sipping and snacking types will be happy lounging in the bar or kicking back on the rooftop, over salumi boards, mushroom arancini, beef tartare on toasted schiacciata, and perhaps some oozy burrata served with grilled bread and a pesto dressing.

Deeper in, house-made pasta proves a highlight, running to options like lamb ragu tagliatelle with orange pangrattato, truffle mascarpone-laced pappardelle funghi, and a blue swimmer crab tagliolini elevated with a prawn bisque and avruga gremolata. Meanwhile, pizzas might come laden with classic toppings like pork sausage, fennel and hot salami; or marinated prawns and cherry tomatoes.

Parker Blain

If you're already dreaming of the rooftop knock-offs, you'll be just as happy with Stella's drinks situation, which is headlined by a mix of Italian wines and local varietals curated by sommelier Myron Kloppers (Omnia, Ike Jime).

Of course, the Mediterranean-leaning cocktail lineup has plenty of terrace-worthy inclusions of its own — including the Stella Royale spritz starring blackberry liqueur, hibiscus syrup and fizz; and the Violetta's sophisticated blend of tequila, Cointreau, lavender bitters and house-made lavender tea.

Kate Pascoe

Parker Blain

Parker Blain

Find Stella at 427 Chapel Street, South Yarra. It's open daily from 12–4pm and again from 6pm–late.

Images: Parker Blain and Kate Pascoe

Published on October 05, 2022 by Libby Curran
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