Saint Crispin is dead. Long live Lupo, aka the wolf of Smith Street, as chef-owner Scott Pickett is dubbing the next transformation of his Collingwood restaurant.
For the last six months, the space has been host to the Broadsheet kitchen pop-up, but with that project concluding its time in Collingwood, Pickett and executive chef Stuart McVeigh decided to change tack.
Pickett says "we thought, do we go back to the Saint Crispin format or mix it up? We don't have any Italian heritage, but love our hand-rolled macaroni, and without being gimmicky, we want to do great Italian food with a little bit of Melbourne in it."
A quick renovation will lift the current palette with hits of "Aperol orange" and forest green, and see some marble and new tables added, and banquettes removed. Upstairs will remain the same, available for private dining.
Pickett's love of Australian ingredients and luxurious snacks comes through in the menu. Case in snacks: gnocco fritto, deep fried dough puffs, will be filled with a garlic and herb foam and shrouded in cheese like a garlic bread-doughnut hybrid.
The rest of the a la carte menu will follow a typical snack, carbs and grilled meats format with plant-based options. That might be hare cappelletti with celeriac or cooked-to-order risotto with WA truffles, chased by bistecca for two or quail with dried and fermented grapes.
Chef Charlie Watson, ex-Eleven Madison (New York) is being brought across from Pickett's Matilda to head up Lupo. Sommelier Tristan Vinson is currently beefing up the cellar with more Italian wines and Australian-grown Italian varietals, but the old-new world options will still fill 50 percent of the list.
Lupo will open from June 4 Mon-Thu 6pm-late, Fri-Sun noon-3pm; 6pm-late at 300 Smith Street, Collingwood, 03 9419 2202, luporestaurant.com.au