A new Italian hot spot for travelling foodies
Buono Restaurant & Bar opened amidst Covid restrictions in Melbourne and won over diners with its comfort dishes.
You can’t stop the Italians. Not even Covid-19 can put on the brakes once a passionate and determined Italian has set his sights on a goal. Now multiply that by three. Fabio Magliano, Daniele Ruffolo and Cinzia Buono opened the Italian restaurant on September 6—when Melbourne was under strict Covid restrictions. It began with takeaways only, before finally opening for diners on Oct 29. At a time of distress and uncertainty, the trio have served up comfort food that resonated with Melburnians.
Once a travel bubble is established with Victoria, Singaporeans will be able to visit their most frequented city again and to discover new hot spots such as Buono Restaurant & Bar.
Passion and perfection
The restaurant is the result of three people and their expertise in hospitality, food and wine. Co-owner Cinzia Buono fell in love with Australia when she visited the country as a teenager. Although she was born and raised in Switzerland, her Italian heritage eventually became key to the restaurant that shares her name.
Fabio Magliano’s experience as a manager in a Michelin-star restaurant keeps everyone motivated despite the challenges, and his passion about wine allows the menu to showcase a varied selection of wines and cocktails.
Head chef Daniele Ruffolo grew up in Milan and puts an authentic Italian touch to every dish he prepares.
Italy on a plate
Guests immediately feel welcome with its pastel green walls, dark wooden hues and pops of teal, as if the restaurant’s homely atmosphere is giving them a big motherly hug. A glance at the menu immediately shows that it’s a labour of love, created with a lot of heart and soul to satiate and satisfy.
The appetisers tease your palate with traditional south Italian eats. Delight in comfort food such as Parmigiana (oven-baked eggplant parmigiana) that’s served on a bed of spicy garlic sauce, and shallow fried Calamari served with fennel salad and squid ink mayonnaise.
A must-try is the twice-cooked Polipo (boiled and grilled octopus), Italian pork sausage and chickpea puree for a unique and delicious flavour. This dish is proudly created by the restaurant’s other head chef, Mirco Speri, who is from Verona.
Mains include a selection of pasta, fish and pork dishes. The highlight is Gnocchi made from potato and mushroom, where mushroom puree is put inside the dough. The gnocchi is then cooked in burnt butter and sage before parmigiano and fresh truffle are added.
Other chef-recommended dishes are the Seafood Linguine served in a crustacean napoli sauce with calamari, pippis, mussels and prawns, and Risotto of the Day.
The menu changes seasonally so guests can expect varied and interesting dishes throughout the year.
This means if you want to try other options such as the homemade Ravioli stuffed with duck mouse and port served with confit duck leg and pickled beetroot, and the Filleto Di Manzo, a scotch fillet with braised silverbeet and kohlrabi remoulade, do it now because they will soon be replaced by the Summer menu and won’t be available.
And if you are wondering what’s on the new menu, the restaurant teases with the Sher Wagyu Rump Tagliata M/S8 served with mushroom cream, truffled potato crisps and buffalo mozzarella. Check its website and Facebook page for updates on the menu and daily specials.
Currently the restaurant has a lunch special for AU$30 that includes a glass of house white, red or prosecco, and choice of porterhouse steak as the main course.
Raise your glass
The restaurant has an extensive wine and drinks menu, including 62 different wines all chosen by sommelier and co-owner Magliano. For cocktails, the standout drink is the Sour-ro made with tanqueray infused with cucumber, blood orange liqueur, lemon juice, sugar syrup and egg white.
It’s an Insta-worthy type of cocktail, because it comes topped with aromatic clouds for dramatic effect (created using the Flavour Blaster, a cocktail equipment that is able to make bubbles with ease).
End your meal with the restaurant’s signature dessert, the homemade Bacio Buono that hides a special uplifting message inside.
Buono Restaurant & Bar is open every day for dinner, but is also open for lunch from Friday to Sunday. It will also have a special set menu for Christmas and New Year’s Eve but reservations are required so remember to book early.
It’s not stiff and formal fine dining here, but that’s the whole point. Prices are affordable and food is wholesome; you’ll leave with a smile and a very satisfied belly.
Buono Restaurant & Bar is at 198 Como Parade W, Parkdale, Victoria, Australia. More information available here.