Melbourne's Cucina Povera Vino Vero reaches end of the road

Joseph Vargetto and Maurice Terzini pictured together at Cucina Povera prior to its opening.
Joseph Vargetto and Maurice Terzini pictured together at Cucina Povera prior to its opening. Photo: Simon Schluter

The lights at Cucina Povera Vino Vero, the short-lived restaurant from Maurice Terzini and Joseph Vargetto, are officially out.

Vargetto has confirmed to Good Food that he is not renewing the lease at 445 Little Collins Street in Melbourne. The chef previously indicated he may renew the lease and install a new business of his own should Terzini not wish to continue operating Cucina Povera. Both options now appear to be off the table.

"The site just brings back too many bad memories. It had good memories prior when it was Massi," says Vargetto, referring to his previous restaurant in the site.

He and Terzini announced Cucina Povera in September 2021 and the restaurant opened on June 22. It marked a return to Melbourne for Terzini after many decades of opening restaurants in Sydney, including Icebergs Dining Room and Bar.

But the venue ran into difficulties, with sudden evening closures and booking cancellations amid rumours of a feud.

Terzini has not made any comment on the record and has mostly been in Sydney in recent weeks.