There’s no other place that so accurately captures the Italian lifestyle than Brunetti. The Lygon Street institution has been a haven for generations of both Italian-born and lovers of the cuisine for 30 years, bringing the best of the culture to Melbourne’s famous Mediterranean strip.
The Angele family acquired the business in 1991, turning the space into a bustling, authentic Roman pasticceria. Giorgio Angele began his training at the age of 10, working with his uncle in a pasticceria and coffee bar called Santa Chiara in Rome. After developing his skills throughout his youth, he immigrated to Australia, taking over the Brunetti business 24 years ago. These days, his family look after much of the business, but Giorgio still works full time baking a delicious selection of European-style sweets and desserts and overseeing production.
Brunetti is a family operated business run by the Angele Family and their large team of passionate and dedicated staff. Under the skilled hands of the kitchen staff, Brunetti has turned into an iconic establishment that’s synonymous with a traditional Italian dining experience. The huge venue is split into different sections: if you’re walking in from Lygon Street you’ll come across the pasticceria, home to the cakes that built the Brunetti name. Continue past the golden cabinets to find the enormous coffee bar where an expert team of baristas turn out cup after cup of espresso.
Continue further down to check out the bakery, home to all the fresh bread you could ever wish for, baked each morning and disappearing soon after. You’ll see them in action at the paninoteca, where only the best ingredients are used to create delicious traditional sandwiches. The Angele family and kitchen team are passionate about sourcing local partners for the freshest produce, including cheeses, meat, poultry, seafood and fruits and vegetables.
If you’ve got time, stick around for the final element of the Brunetti empire: the restaurant and gelateria. Start with the traditional bruschetta and a serving of salumi – choose from six different options or let the team do it for you. Move your eyes down to the salad options – try the classic caprese della casa featuring buffalo mozzarella and buffalo ricotta, a trio of tomatoes, thin crisp bread, Maldon sea salt, basil and extra virgin oil; or the lesser-known primavera, which includes rocket, freekeh, peas, asparagus and chickpea purée.
Make sure you leave space for the pizza and home-made pasta. Combine any two sets of toppings on your base and watch it bubble away in the wood- red oven. Taste the salsiccia and friarielli complete with mozzarella, Italian sausage, and broccoli rabe; or spice things up with a diavola – Napoli sauce, mozzarella, hot salami and hot chilli paste. Order the ravioli al prosciutto crudo di parma, featuring parma ham filled pasta with asparagus, egg yolk, grana padano and parsley, or the risotto al taleggio complete with taleggio cheese, spinach and caramelised onions. If you’re really not sure, build your own meal with the La Mia Pasta: select your preferred pasta type and pair it with your favourite sauce.
Whatever you end up eating, save room for dessert. Choose from one of the many gelato flavours sitting in the cabinet or opt for a degustation where you can try more than one.
The drinks list is equally as Italian-leaning, with wine on tap and in bottles, beers, aperitivi, digestives and of course, coffee. Try the 2014 Pinot Grigio or 2013 Sangiovese from the copper taps, or opt for a glass or bottle of vino straight from the motherland. Turn to the aperitivi for an aperol or campari spritz or wait until after dinner to sip on a limoncello or grappa.
After such an indulgent eating experience, you’ll be rolling out of the mirrored venue very full. But don’t forget to order some pastries to take away – they’ll make the perfect accompaniment to your next cup of tea or coffee.
With such a vast range of dining experiences, Brunetti offers guests every part of Italy in one space. It’s no wonder it’s still flourishing after nearly 30 years.