Chefs Paolo Masciopinto and Salvatore Montella, who worked together at Bar Carolina in South Yarra and before that Sarti, have opened their own 40-seat Italian restaurant, Aromi, in Brighton.
The pair left Bar Carolina in January to set up the New Street restaurant, which opened on March 26 and has a similar half classic, half contemporary Italian focus as their former addresses.
Everything is made in-house, from the focaccia and ciabatta to tomato spaghetto (with the tomato incorporated into the dough), served with spanner crab and macadamia.
The snacking includes gnocco fritto (dough fried so it puffs into pillows) with smoked mozzarella and wagyu bresaola, tempura soft-shell crabs and roasted piquillo peppers, grown for them near Geelong, stuffed with goat's cheese and topped with caper leaves and black garlic. Gary's Meats is supplying the big game for the kitchen's grill.
Currently, Montella is off the pans and on the floor, but the 25-bottle, mostly Italian small producer wine list (with a few baller champagnes, and French, German and Australians) was compiled for the team by Dinner by Heston sommelier Mattia Cianca.
Cocktails, dressed with a lot of aromatic herbs (for which the restaurant is named) prop up your drinking options, and apertivo with a special bar snack menu between 5pm-5.30pm on Friday might make this Brighton's prime new knock-off proposition.
Open Tue-Thu 5.30pm-10.30pm; Fri-Sat noon-3pm, 5pm-11pm; Sun noon-3pm.
312 New Street, Brighton, 03 9592 1592, aromirestaurant.com.au