Is there anyone in this world who doesn’t like pizza? The correct answer is no….
Braddon’s continental food market has finally arrived— at The Italian Place Providore and Bottega.
If the affable owner of The Italian Place Tony Lo Terzo is confident of one thing, it is that his Canberra customers love traditional Italian fare.
And so aside from running his popular trattoria—which has enjoyed a roaring trade since it opened last April—Tony and his chef and partner Francesco Petrillo are taking on a new business partner and taking over Mort Street.
Their ambitious plan—a massive warehouse-style Italian deli and market—which takes up a big chunk of the new The Gallery building on Mort Street, just one shopfront away from the restaurant, opened its doors this week.
And if the steady stream of customers is anything to go by, Canberra is keen for a bite of all things continental.
Helping him bring the plan to light is Andrew McFadzean, of award-winning winery Lerida Estate.
It’s a strategic partnership for Tony as Andrew will not only have a hand in overseeing the running of the new venture, but will coordinate a massive wine collection and tasting room that will feature local makers, and also bring a heavy dose it Italian and European labels to Canberra.
The Italian Place Providore and Bottega takes out a floor space of 180 square metres and sells everything from fresh fruit and vegetables, wine and spirits, dried goods, bread, cured meats and smallgoods, every sort of imported tinned fish and tinned tomato an Italian home cook could want, plus olive oils, vinegars, and speciality ingredients from dried porcini mushrooms to dried herbs. Stock feature the best of both local and imported brands.
The Providore will eventually feature a dedicated cheese room that promises to differ from Ainslie IGA’s (the competition is friendly, both Tony and IGA owner Manual Xyrakis are firm friends) and a room at the back will be reserved for functions and cheese-making, wine-tasting and cooking classes.
Out the front, meanwhile, passers-by can gaze onto window cabinets full of paninis, cakes, pastries, antipasto ingredients and quick lunches and take-outs, to be served from a counter window opening onto the street.
To make it even more authentically Italian, the street frontage will feature high tables, for people to stand an enjoy an espresso (just as they do in Rome) while the covered alley will provide tables and chairs for those who want to stay awhile. You will be able to order anything from a meal to a glass of wine.
But on top of that, the Providore will also pump out fresh meals to take home, cooked that day by Francesco. Francesco will do the restaurant’s favourite pastas and sauces to mix and match as customers see fit. But he will also prepare more substantial takeaways—from the eggplant parmigiana to veal saltimbocca and eye fillet beef tournedos.
The idea is that people can take things home which are largely pre-prepared to cook themselves, rather than transport cooked food home.
“We always want to preserve the integrity of the food, so no one wants soggy pasta that has spent 15 minutes in the car,” says Tony.
In fact, it was a demand for cook-at-home food that gave Tony the confidence to take out the lease as he and his staff were run off their feet cooking to fill orders.
There are plans to do boxed deliveries of goods to the inner north once the new shop finds its feet, and in that respect, Tony is confident the venture will survive any further lock-down pressures if Canberra experiences a COVID second wave.
The new space has also taken the pressure off floor space at The Italian Place, which is being rebranded as The Italian Place Enoteca.
Rather than be crammed up alongside stacked bottles of Chinotto and Biscottini, patrons will have access to more space for a long lunch or dinner with friends.
The restaurant, which has become a popular fixture on the Canberra dining scene, will not change dramatically, other than getting a bit of a clear-out as stock moves next door, and a spruce up.
Tony is firmly of the view that his casual, authentic, honest Italian trattoria-style food is what has won him a legion of fans. And that the city’s food-savvy residents will appreciate the range and quality of what will be on offer. And with Andrew on board coordinating the Providore, Tony looks forward on being able to do what he does best—host his diners.
“It is honestly what I love, greeting people at the door, talking to them, ensuring they have a great dining experience. Andrew can be in charge of what is happening next door,” Tony says with a laugh.
What: The Italian Place Providore and Bottega
When: Open 7 days, from 7am-7pm Mon-Fri and 10am-7pm weekends and public holidays.
Where: Address 55/40 Mort Street Braddon (one shop down from The Italian Place)