Just Open: Allora Cucina, McKinnon

Allora Cucina has taken over the space previously home to the Way to San Jose in McKinnon.
Allora Cucina has taken over the space previously home to the Way to San Jose in McKinnon. Photo: Thomas Holst

Jason and Renee McConnell (San Telmo, Pastuso) have rebranded McKinnon pizza shop the Way to San Jose as Allora Cucina this week, after taking over in November.

They've come in gently, honouring existing hand-made floors, bar and tables but adding quaint artwork by Jessica McAllister, including a hand-painted floor-to-ceiling depiction of Allora, their buxom, spaghetti-eating mascot, in a Roman holiday vibe.

Most of the staff have stayed on, including Venetian chefs Marco Giora and Alberto Zancan, who have expanded the pizza-driven menu with an antipasti section and larger plates to encourage communal dining (locals needn't worry; favourites such as lasagne pesce, featuring salmon, mussels and prawn, remain).

Individually potted mascarpone, biscotti and espresso tiramisu.
Individually potted mascarpone, biscotti and espresso tiramisu. Photo: Thomas Holst

There was an immediate upgrade in the quality of the linen and glassware, and a neglected courtyard has been turned into a sultry blue-and-white-striped aperitivo corner. Next, a plan to turn an unused upstairs area into private dining rooms for groups of 10 and 20.

Open Mon-Thu 5pm-9.30pm; Fri-Sat noon-10.30pm; Sun noon-9.30pm.

135 McKinnon Road, McKinnon, 03 9578 6550, alloracucina.com.au