Ecco Da Nicolini
97 Toorak Rd, South Yarra VIC
(03) 9866 5466
The Nicolini siblings understand Italian cuisine. The essence of the boot- shaped country is ingrained into Annie and Mauro’s everyday lives, having grown up with generations of foodies who instilled in them a lifetime love and passion for cooking.
With experience that ranges from a humble cantina in the rolling hills of Abruzzo to a ristorante on the cliffs above the Adriatic in Puglia, it’s safe to say the Italian flavour comes second nature to the brother and sister team. This is unashamedly obvious at Ecco Da Nicolini, their family-friendly restaurant in South Yarra.
A passion for food was embedded in the pair from a young age, meaning they are no newcomers to the culinary scene. Together they ran the successful Golden Ox eatery, before Annie spent 10 years with her husband Michele in Italy running a Pugliese restaurant. Decades later, Annie and Mauro have reunited to create Ecco, a place that radiates that welcoming European feeling.
Offering traditional home-style cooking, Ecco serves up a true taste of Italy. While the dishes appear lavish, they understand the secret to great Italian food lies in simplicity. The simple combination of authentic Italian ingredients and fresh local produce, traditional wood-fired ovens and experienced chefs provides customers with a little piece of Italy.
Traditional food is important to the Nicolini family, but food evolution is equally as important in this restaurant. The menu infuses classic flavours with new and exciting ingredients, such as the wood-fired gorgonzola pizza, topped with mozzarella, gorgonzola, radicchio and a unique truffled honey.
There is a creative selection of pasta, mains and of course, dessert. Pasta enthusiasts will have a hard choice between the seafood ravioli with lobster bisque sauce and the wood-fired oven roasted duck and mushroom risotto with porcini dust, but either way be sure to leave room for some of the ‘secondi’. The braised veal ossobuco and polenta will be transporting you to the motherland in just one bite.
The house desserts will tickle your tastebuds, with traditional dishes on offer. Try the pannacotta served with fresh berries, or the calzoncino – a mini closed pizza stuffed with Nutella and banana.
The beverages are equally as Italian-focused, with a range of wines from both Australia and Italy. Try the Banks Road Pinot Grigio from Bellarine in Victoria or the Fattoria Zerbina ‘Ceregio’ Sangiovese from the region of Emilia Romagna. Both local and imported beers feature, including crowd favourites Crown Lager and Peroni.
For those looking for a midday flavour kick, the ever-changing lunch menu is updated based on what’s available and in season. Their dedication to produce is such that the Italian Chambers of Commerce recognised the restaurant for using high-quality Italian products.
Lighting up their vibrant place on Toorak Road, the warm ambiance that Ecco radiates comes from a sense of family passion shared best when cooking. Cosy open fires in winter and alfresco dining in summer means that no matter the time of year, the team are ready and waiting to provide an authentic Italian experience.