With a childhood flitting between the Gold Coast and the Abruzzo region of Italy and with a family of restaurateurs around him, no one was better placed to bring the best of Italian cuisine to Melbourne than Remo Nicolini. The founder of eight award winning restaurants around the city, his newest venture – A25 – brings pizza, with a side of sexy, to the streets of South Yarra.
Born into the business, Remo was destined to enter the hospitality world. First learning his craft from his father at his pizzeria, he ventured back to Italy to perfect his culinary offerings, before returning to Melbourne to open a number of acclaimed venues. A25 is Remo’s first venture in the south, bringing the sights, sounds and tastes of the shoe-shaped country to Australia.
A25 is named after the freeway (or autostrada) that links Rome to Pescara. Back in Italy it gave Remo a direct route from his hometown to his favourite city in the world. It is fitting then that A25 transports guests to Rome and Pescara through its unique and creative fare.
Upon walking into the achingly on-trend space, complete with polished concrete floors and a wall-size picture of Sophia Loren in her heyday, take a seat at one of the natural timber tables to settle in for a delicious dining experience.
Start with some share plates, including the amazing homemade arancini, the chilli broccolini with truffled buffalo ricotta, or some lightly fried calamari and
chips with squid ink aioli. Move onto the creatively named pizzas, which are split into two sections: red and white. From the red menu choose between the famous Bunga Bunga (which won The Age Epicure’s best pizza in Melbourne) – fior di latte, tomato, Italian sausage, porcini mushrooms and parmesan, or the Hot Dog – fior di latte, tomato, frankfurts and spaghetti chips. If you’re a fan of the mozzarella base, try the Sexy Truffle, a decadent mix of fior di latte, white truffle cream, mushrooms, radicchio and parmesan shavings, or the LSD, a sensational combination of cream of dates, Italian sausage, radicchio, pecorino cheese and liquorice dust.
If you’re feeling up to it, try the first black pizza in Melbourne, featuring a squid ink base, tiger prawns, calamari and broccoli and cherry tomato. No matter what toppings you order, you can be sure the heritage of old world Italian tradition is maintained by using only the best ingredients, including southern Italian-grown tomatoes, locally made fresh mozzarella and southern Italian soft wheat flour.
Finish the experience with a sumptuous dessert. Plates include an Amaretto tiramisu and a take on the traditional pannacotta, involving rosewater, blueberry jelly and Persian fairy floss. There’s also an Italian-leaning list of drinks available to complete the European experience.
With a succinct menu packed full of flavour, A25 succeeds in bringing Italy to South Yarra. With droves of people flocking through its doors, it was exactly what south-siders needed – even if they didn’t realise it.