We lost many great venues across the city this past year, but Zetland legacy, Cafe Vite, is one of the many survivors of lockdown who has taken their offer to the next level as the beloved roastery of breakfast and lunch enjoys a renaissance taking new form as Cicco Zetland.
As the business passed from father to son last year, proud new owner, Alex Pacitto assembled a team from various cities of Italy who infuse their specialties from their regions into the common staples local Aussies love.
All the usual fixings of apertivo await, before the antipasto of in-house baked focaccia accessorises a colourful platter of mixed marinated verdure, pickles and cured meats anchored by burrata descends on the table of entranced guests. The classic Italian meal structure of a five part food story begins…
The Bruschetta of balsamic glaze, tomato, basil and red onion is one of the dishes where you’ll find personal nods to the past with Alex choosing to use authentic domo bread straight from the motherland as the lead in to his primo course. Otherwise, the rest of the menu of pasta, pizza dough and other fresh baked goods are all made on site and fresh every service.
The Eye fillet tartare strays from its traditional yolk and instead appears with a pickled crown to contrast the citrus hues of the dish while adding crunch to the tender cut.
The aromas from the pass captivate, as the ambience continues to liven during peak hour dinner service with many flocking to the vine dressed al fresco area. The rustic interior of brick and exposed industrial ceilings immersed in the final sunset rays as the fairy lights become more prominent and is just as inviting.
Head Chef Federico offers two pastas for primo corso and obviously, it is an essential must-try dish in your Cicco experience. It would be un-Italian not to, for that matter with over 1.4 million tonnes of pasta being produced by Italy each year and on average 27kg being consumed by Italians each year.
A Roman classic, Cacio e pepe, of tangy sheep’s milk based pecorino cheese and black pepper, traditionally uses spaghetti. The choice is ear pasta in this rendition, or orecchiette, in which globules of the creamy sauce that incorporates the starch water fills the concaves of its shell offering bursts of flavour alongside the intermittent accents of crispy guanciale (pork cheek).
The spiciness of southern Italy is prominent in the Seafood marinara. Strands of spaghetti coated in tomato bisque with hits of chilli confidently firing through.
Secondo and Contorno consist of a pizza and its sister hybrid, the Calzone (which has its origins from the folding of uncooked pizza during the 18th Centurty). This course is filled with the untampered authenticity of San marzano tomato, mozzarella, basil, oregano and ricotta. By traditional standards typical of the third and fourth course, the portions are quite large, however light enough to squeeze in dessert.
The richness of savoury and spice from the nostalgic comfort of carbohydrates ends on a sweet note of refreshing lemon and minitiarised cannoli.
Southern Italy is said to have been the birth place of cannoli. They say when serving guests, tradition and etiquette calls for a dozen to be plated, not for us, the pinky sized serving of four for our party of six was just right after a dazzling feast of colour, scents and textures.
Open six days a week, offering takeaway and delivery, locals should prepare for an inevitable captivation with this venue and a multi-generational history that reaches past and forward of unprecedented times. As the city regains normalcy again, the promise of this evolved establishment and the culinary story it tells featuring ‘Italy’s Greatest Hits’, bottomless brunches and a new alcohol license breathes new life into Zetland’s dining scene as revellers prepare to rediscover the nightlife again.
On Invitation: The Society Group