Chris Lucas' dapper steakhouse celebrates Northern Italian flavours and old-school hospitality with a generous side of modern elegance.
May 18, 2022
This grand Flinders Lane restaurant from Melbourne hospitality stalwart Chris Lucas (Chin Chin, Yakimono, Society) is quite the showstopper. From the entrance, the lofty 145-seat space sets out to envelop you, presenting a plush vision of rich blue banquettes and waitstaff clad in white jackets.
It's a study in modern elegance, with a steakhouse-style offering of Northern Italian flavours and a name inspired by the Americano cocktail — here, crafted with a cacao nib vermouth and served with chocolate-dipped mandarin.
An impressive 14-metre marble bar offers front-row seats to the open kitchen and its pride and joy: a handmade, custom-built woodfired oven imported from Naples and a Josper charcoal grill.
There's a strong sense of old-school hospitality at play, matched by Head Chef Douglas Keyte's (Brisbane's Hellenika) mighty menu steeped in European sensibilities and hero-ing traditional Italian techniques. Expect elegant tableside finishes aplenty.
Snack fiends and aperitivo aficionados will be all about the cicchetti offering, starring the likes of creamy chicken croquettes ($16.5) and aged parmigiano reggiano served with organic Piemontese chestnut honey ($22.5). Freshly baked focaccia is teamed with green olive butter ($11.5), and you'll find a premium lineup of Italian salumi.
Sicilian-native Simone Giorgianni whips up the restaurant's signature pasta offering fresh each day. Standouts include a saffron tagliolini topped with scampi ($44.5) and a spicy pork sausage rigatoni ($36.5). Though most will find it hard to pass up the selection of steaks, all traditionally finished with a lick of olive oil, lemon and rosemary. Their meaty hero is a hefty 1.2-kilogram Bistecca alla Fiorentina t-bone ($165).
And come dessert, Michaela Kang (Bread Club) helms an unmissable menu of sweet creations that includes a reworked tiramisu ($21.5) and an elegant take on the trifle ($17.5).
There's an expansive, global curation of vino, with a Coravin system to take full advantage of the 2000-strong cellar collection. Meanwhile, signature cocktails feature plenty of Italian influence and subtle twists — try the smoked negroni, or a house bellini fusing white peach and elderflower.
Images: Adrian Landers and Grill Americano