Legend has it that Romulus and Remus were twins, who after being abandoned by their great-uncle, were raised by a she wolf named Lupa. Once grown, they took power and went onto to create the city of Rome.
Romans take few things more seriously than food and feasting, treating it as a social ritual where friends and family unite to bond over fabulous fare. In urban Melbourne, Renton Carlyle-Taylor and Mark Hopkinson share the same level of seriousness about food, spreading their passion for feasting via Richmond’s Roman restaurant Romulus and Remus.
This is the first venture by the pair, who experienced the ups and downs of the hospitality industry during their high school and university years. After pursuing their own careers, they partnered up to bring bold fare packed with flavour and integrity to Bridge Road.
Matthew English is the man in charge of bringing this vision to life. Having plied his trade at various Italian restaurants around town, he was well placed to translate the Roman idea of feasting to the tables of Melbourne. Along with his kitchen team, he sources seasonal and local produce to use in all the recipes, making bread, pizzas, pastas and salumi in-house. And to ensure the authenticity in flavour is maintained, traditional staples come from Italy.
No matter the occasion, the team has you covered. Pop by for a quiet glass of wine and salumi under an olive tree, a lazy lunch with the family or a full- blown feast with friends. With a menu designed around social eating, there is as much to share as there is to keep all to yourself.
With so many tempting dishes on offer, expect to face hard decisions about what to eat. Order a share plate with house-made salumi, or arancini balls filled with porcini, roasted field mushrooms and fontina. For a main you can choose from an array of pastas, pizzas and modern Italian dishes, such as a half rabbit braised on the bone with pancetta, white wine, dill and seeded mustard cream on polenta and cime di rapa.
If you’re going to indulge in Romulus and Remus’ specialty of feasting, you can enjoy a whole grilled chicken, a 1kg braised lamb, or the magnum opus – a six-hour slow cooked suckling pig that can feed 10, served with the chef’s selection of sides.
An extensive wine and beverage menu promises the perfect accompaniment for whatever the meal or celebration requires, with a large range of local and Italian wines, as well as all the best of Australian and imported beers, ales and ciders. Renton and Mark have designed the menu to feature accessible and locally sourced drops, meaning everyone can enjoy a cheeky beverage or two.
What was once an indoor golf driving range is now the mecca of Roman cuisine in Melbourne. The décor is modern and tasteful, with long bench tables for groups and families and smaller settings for intimate meals. Pendant lights and a brushed concrete wall keep it contemporary, while an open kitchen gives an insider’s look into the action.
Romulus and Remus has taken a new twist on traditional Italian, giving Melburnians a chance to live as well as the Romans do.