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Grill Americano

Chris Lucas' dapper steakhouse celebrates Northern Italian flavours and old-school hospitality with a generous side of modern elegance.
By Libby Curran
May 18, 2022
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By Libby Curran
May 18, 2022
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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

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