Follow your nose down Little Bourke Street to find a simple solution to Monday morning breakfast. Lt. Osteria deals in specialty coffee and seasonal brunches, delivering a considered and curated approach to everyone’s favourite meal.
‘Osteria’ derives from the Italian word meaning ‘a place that serves wine and uses fresh local produce’. When Nicole Thomson and Nunzio Vizzini rebranded their cafe in mid-2016, they wanted to replicate this tradition with a touch of Melbourne flair. In its current form, they have created a place that invites patrons to escape from the day and enjoy an uncomplicated and delicious meal.
When wandering down Little Bourke Street, look out for the mint chairs – the hallmark of Lt. Osteria. The distinctive hue has become the signature colour of the cafe, creating a light, fresh feel that instantly relaxes you. This crisp aesthetic continues throughout the interior, with floor-to-ceiling glass panelling and light oak furnishings. The aesthetic reflects the Italian-inspired menu, with Spacecraft-designed botanical prints of wild fennel originating from Italy and Australian gum, visually uniting the two cultures and symbolising the fusion of cuisines.
Nunzio and Nicole both manage the cafe, with Nunzio taking on the role of head barista. Nunzio offers two house blends from Reverence Coffee Roasters, teamed with milk from St David Dairy. The first blend is the Lion Tamer, which features gentle stonefruit acidity and aromas of vanilla and ripe cherry. The second is the Night Vision, which holds flavours of candied fruits, chocolate, nougat and a delicious toffee finish. You’re not limited to lattes either: order an affogato for something a little different or opt for cold drip or batch brew.
After you’ve settled in with a coffee, turn your attention to the food. Bread arrives fresh from Noisette and produce is delivered to the intimate kitchen where Head Chef Tuomas Viirret and his kitchen hand get to work. Here, Australian produce meets Italian tradition – the team makes everything from pasta to cakes by hand, and turns out flavour combinations that will make your tastebuds sing.
If you’re nearby in the morning, take a seat to enjoy Lt. Osteria’s take on crushed avocado, served on sourdough with heirloom tomatoes, baby radish, Meredith’s goat’s cheese and a poached egg. Come lunchtime, dishes veer in the direction of delicious pastas and proteins, including spaghetti di gamberi – local king prawns with heirloom cherry tomatoes, chilli, garlic and fresh herbs. Try the risotto con funghi – porcini and enoki mushrooms finished with truffle oil and aged parmesan – or opt for the polpette al sugo, which combines meatballs cooked in tomato passata with fresh basil, pecorino and ciabatta.
If it’s too late for a coffee, turn to the wine list – a curated selection of Italian varietals and beers to enhance any long lunch.
Regardless of the time you visit, Lt. Osteria provides an escape from the hustle and bustle of the CBD. Fresh in both flavour and design, it’s sure to perk up the dreariest of days.