Cucinetta is so small, there is no room for a fridge. The South Yarra osteria, which opened earlier this year with just 21 seats, gets its fish and veg delivered before service, and once it's gone, it's gone.
The same-day strategy works fine for owners Omar El Deek and Giacomo Pietrantuono, who, with head chef Attilio Nuscis, change the whole menu every Wednesday.
One week slow-cooked veal, thinly sliced and flecked with salsa tonnata and capers might make an appearance; and the next, there will be vialone nano risotto with red and yellow capsicum, mascarpone and almond.
Nuscis cooks the food he knows best: northern Italian from where he grew up, and the Calabrian-style he learned from his mama. Pappardelle, tagliatelle and other pasta is made in-house, and bread is baked daily.
"As an Italian, he likes simple dishes," El Deek says. "Two, three, four ingredients maximum."
Pietrantuono has assembled a by-the-glass wine list 26 bottles deep. Given space constraints, there's a single glass for barolo, brunello and fiano alike, a 950-millilitre Riedel 001, which could hold an entire bottle – if you so please.
"Normal wine, in this glass, it tastes better," El Deek says. "You feel like a king or a queen."
Meanwhile, El Deek and Pietrantuono will remain on the floor at the venerable Caffe e Cucina, where they're general manager and food and beverage manager, respectively.
"Because Caffe e Cucina is an old established business, a lot of things are very conservative," El Deek says.
"But at Cucinetta, we play. It's our laboratory."
Open daily noon-late.
Shop 4, 3 Murphy Street, South Yarra, 03 9942 2607, cucinettamelb.com.au