In Europe, the place where you have your morning coffee is often also the place where you stop in for a glass of wine or to grab some provisions at night, says Katie McCormack. She's channelling this ethos at Lagotto, the new all-day eatery and providore she's opening in Fitzroy North on May 13 with her brother Michael McCormack.
It's the third restaurant for the siblings, who also own Collingwood's sleek and minimal Congress, and Richmond's fun and casual Future Future. Like at Congress, Lagotto sits on the ground floor of a Milieu Property apartment complex. Also like at Congress, Lagotto feels like its own entity – not just a way to fill space in a new development.
"I did a pop-up here in the old site office for six months to get to know the community and work out what suited the neighbourhood," says Katie. "We settled on Italian because it crosses borders – even if you're a food snob you're not above a delicious bowl of cacio e pepe.
"Italian is a really warm, hospitable cuisine and one that as Melburnians we've all grown up on. It allows us to do something a little bit refined but still connect with the community, both the vertical one and the wider one we're becoming part of."
Kicking off with breakfast, the menu by David Fisher (ex Richmond's The Grand) features eight dishes ranging from sheep's milk panna cotta with granola to slow-braised cannellini beans with Italian sausage.
Lunch will change weekly, but there will be five cooked dishes – such as spaghetti and meatballs, cotoletta with slaw, or osso bucco – plus a selection of raw items such as house-cured kingfish or buffalo mozzarella. From about 3pm, Lagotto will transform into a wine bar, where the focus will shift to the pithy list of Italian wines, cocktails (like negronis) and snacky bar food – perhaps gnocchi fritti or sardines backed up by charcuterie and cheese.
Along with basic Italian provisions such as dried pasta, canned tomatoes and cured meat and fish, it will sell ready-made meals based on the lunch menu – maybe chicken cacciatore, or house-made gnocchi.
David Flack from Flack Studios is again behind the design, which brings together a terrazzo floor the colour of prosciutto, curved booths and banquettes, a long marble bar with red leather stools, and a steel island bench at which to prop with an espresso.
"In Melbourne, we tend to go to one place for coffee, a place for lunch and a place for wine, but we want to change that," says Katie. "We want to keep within the rhythms of each person's day and for them to use us as they see fit."
Lagotto will open at 1 York Street, Fitzroy North, on May 13.