Carlo Tosolini is back. He's at the head of the new Molto Italian restaurant on the Kingston Foreshore.
It's an open airy space with long, cool marble counters, a tile-clad wood-fired pizza oven and bright copper warming lamps over an open kitchen.
The menu is a tour around Italy's regions, with a list of stuzzichino – the little tasty morsels that whet the appetite.
"We've based it around sharing and the way people share," Tosolini says.
The signature dish is spaghetti caci e pepe – served at the table by a waiter who scoops creamy, cheesy, peppery pasta out of a giant, hollowed-out wheel of pecorino cheese.
"We've brought back a little bit of the 1970s," is how Tosolini describes it. "It's a dish where it's perfectly cooked in the kitchen and it's served by a waiter who will bring it to you in a pecorino wheel."
A little bit of theatre to go along with the food.
There's also a bistecca Fiorentina made with the authentic Chianina breed beef, which comes from Gippsland at the only farm that produces Chianina. Wines are firmly Italian and the cocktail list is short but intriguing, with a summery blood orange sgroppino, with vodka and prosecco poured over a scoop of blood orange sorbet, and a tiramisu martini.Last year was a difficult one for Tosolini with the abrupt closure of the family restaurant, Tosolini's, in Civic, after a dispute with the landlord and owner of Bailey's Arcade.
He took a break, and was then approached by the owners of Molto to head the restaurant, returning refreshed in this sunny, waterfront Kingston spot. "Tosolini's is gone, it's done. This is a new era," he says.
The new era includes a keen team of all-Italian chefs headed by Giuseppe Pappalardo. His pizzaiolos are from Rome and Naples, covering both bases (boom tish) when it comes to pizza.
But there are still hints of familiar recipes from Tosolini's. "There's a bit of a scramble as to whose tiramisu is better because we still have Nonna's famous tiramisu," Tosolini says.
And, courtesy of a cousin in Sydney, there's RivaReno gelato on offer as well.
37 Eastlake Parade, Kingston Foreshore, moltoitalian.com