Sunrise spaghetti, espresso and Italian cafe fare on Toorak Road
Toorak Road South Yarra’s latest culinary addition is Cantina Carolina by Joe Mammone, Marco Tenuta and Michael Badr (Bar Carolina, Il Bacaro and newly opened Marameo), a relaxed Italian cafe delivering casual breakfast and lunch within the bustling Carolina precinct.
Served from 7am, Cantina’s menu starts the day with signatures like Carbonara Tartufata — spaghetti alla chitarra with confit yolk, pancetta, pecorina, pepper and truffle — sure to convert South Yarra locals to pasta for breakfast. Those looking for brunch classics can choose from dishes such as:
Torta di Ricotta — Ricotta hotcake, pistachio, rhubarb and vanilla jam, mascarpone
Bruschetta — Whipped ricotta, heirloom tomato, poached egg, prosciutto di Parma, parmigiano, balsamic
Pannacotta al miele — fig and almond granola, seasonal poached fruits
For lunch, patrons can graze on antipasti such as Ricciola al Caffe — coffee-cured kingfish, beetroot, shallots, goat’s curd — and small plates like Melanzane alla Parmigiana — eggplant, tomato sauce, parmigiano — before twirling their way through hearty pastas and larger plates. Likely favourites include:
Spaghetti con Polpette — Long pasta, veal and mortadella meatballs, tomato, basil
Tagliatelle al Frutti di Mare — Ribbon pasta, seafood marinara, garlic, chilli
Cotoletta alla Milanese — Crumbed chicken breast, Italian slaw, charred lemon
Porchetta fi maiale — Rolled pork belly, roasted fennel, mustard fruit, radicchio
From behind the bar are served robust espressos from Lavazza and teas from Chamellia, juices and smoothies playfully named after Italy’s most respected painters and sculptors. Boasting all-day licensing, there is a wide variety of Australian and Italian wines available by the glass and carafe. Wine connoisseurs also have the opportunity to select from the neighbouring Bar Carolina’s cavalry of drops.
Afternoon dessert cravings can be remedied with Tiramisù Classico and Sicilian-style cannoli on the Dolci list. With sunny, street-lining tables, sweets are best savoured in the sun.
Interiors from Chris Connell Design are light and airy, with beauty in the details. A minimal palette of bright white and blonde wood is elevated through texture, with timber panelling, perforated steel and speckled terrazzo tiling.
Complementing sleek service next door at Bar Carolina and sophisticated cocktails and grazing upstairs at Tetto di Carolina, Cantina Carolina provides the perfect casual offering for Toorak Road’s most beloved corner.