They nailed the contemporary wine bar brief with their Collingwood corner gem, Congress, then delivered design-driven mod-Japanese at Richmond's Future Future. Now, the siblings behind Milieu Hospitality have their shifted focus to Italy, for their new all-day Northside haunt Lagotto.
In the space below the group's newly hatched residential development Nth Fitzroy by Milieu, Katie and Michael McCormack have created a destination for all occasions and just about every hour of the day. With an influence that's undeniably Italian, it's a contemporary cafe, wine bar and food store that slips happily from morning to night, all week long.
Inside, design work by Flack Studio nods to those European sensibilities, boasting a charming assembly of glossy burgundy accents, sweeping curves, marble-topped benches and blush-hued terrazzo flooring. Mornings here see espressos and bellinis matched to the likes of a cavalo nero and asiago omelette, or cacio é pepe eggs with pancetta.
Roll in at lunchtime for plates including a crisp pork cotoletta with slaw, a rich chicken cacciatore on soft polenta, and creamy buffalo mozzarella paired with pine nuts and caponata. Sandwiches, perhaps loaded with a combination of porchetta, cime di rapa and salmoriglio, are primed for lunch on the go.
But after a hefty day at work, it's the aperitivo offering that has locals flocking in to the York Street spot. From 4–7pm Wednesday to Saturday, settle in for a $10 spritz, $5 Peronis and cheap snacks, including the likes mortadella with pickles ($5), swordfish skewers ($6) and porchetta sangas ($8). Classic cocktails star alongside a considered list of wine, on offer by the glass or the bottle.
And, if you'd like to take home more than just memories, check out the the food store selection. Affectionately known as Lagotto To-Go, the retail corner is filled with pantry essentials, take-home feasts and reasonably priced wine.
Images: Parker Blain