Melbourne’s Italian pasticceria institution, Brunetti, has opened the doors to its new city store in Flinders Lane.
Brunetti closed its City Square store due to the Melbourne Metro Rail Project and has taken the opportunity to open another that celebrates a full dining experience and brings an “Italian wow factor” to the street.
“Where one door closes, another opens, and we’ve literally done that in a big way,” says Brunetti Director Fabio Angele.
The multi-million dollar fit-out is a celebration of Italian design in the 1950s and 60s. The 300-seat store is housed in the Emirates House building with neighbours Burberry and The Hourglass welcoming the Italian brand to the area.
“Finding a space like this one is something extraordinary. It was an old walkway that we’ve renovated. Customers can now enter via Flinders Lane and leave via Collins Street or vice versa,” Fabio says. “Years ago there wasn’t much reason to walk down Flinders Lane, but now it’s a privilege to be here.”
The architects have modernised the space to attract a younger crowd with the use of an exposed ceiling, but there’s still traditional design elements to encourage families and Brunetti regulars.
Fabio says the goal is to transport visitors to Rome – even if just for an hour.
“If you can’t fly there, you might as well visit us here and embrace a little piece of Italy,” he says.
Fabio’s father Giorgio learnt his pastry skills back in Rome at his cousin’s shop before winning a competition to travel to Melbourne as a pastry chef with the 1956 Italian Olympic Team. It was here that Giorgio fell in love with Melbourne and decided to migrate to the city soon after returning to Italy. Giorgio worked in in Italian kitchens until he acquired Brunetti in 1991. Since then, the Angele family, including son and Director Yuri, have opened five Brunetti stores in Australia and one in Singapore.
Brunetti employs 550 staff members across its sites, with 150 alone at the new Flinders Lane venue.
“The success of our business is the staff. They create the environment and the community atmosphere,” Fabio says. “Many staff members have become lifelong friends, and many have met their future partners here – I go to a lot of weddings.”
Fabio says the Brunetti brand is always looking for ways to reinvent itself, and it’s done so with a big focus on design, and a cutting-edge kitchen fitout, including Australia’s first DeManincor induction cooktop, and a highly specialised Marana Forni wood fired pizza oven – both imported from Italy. The pizza oven hangs suspended from the roof – an impressive architectural feat due to its sheer weight and size.
Visitors can dine in for breakfast, lunch or dinner, take a seat at the Campari Bar for an Aperol spritz, indulge in the large display of pastries and cakes, enjoy the gelataria, or its large coffee bar.
To mark the opening, Brunetti created its own bespoke Arabica coffee blend, partnering with Italian coffeehouse Lavazza – a first both for Brunetti and Lavazza globally.
The Lavazza Brunetti blend, roasted locally in the northern suburbs of Melbourne, is exclusive to Brunetti’s Australian stores, located in Flinders Lane, Lygon Street, Myer Bourke Street, and Melbourne Tullamarine Airport T2 and T4 terminals.
“We’re really privileged to be working so closely with the Lavazza team, and hope to introduce demonstration roasting and masterclasses on site,” Fabio says. “Coffee is such a big part of our café. We’ve created a dedicated service bar [featuring two La Marzocco FB80 machines] that puts the baristas on display, almost like their own stage. We want them to concentrate on service and making coffees as quickly as they can, but to the highest standard.”
A Petroncini roaster sits in the middle of the dining area with a restored E61 Faema four-group espresso machine adding to the theatre.
Fabio says the coffee bar and pastries cabinet are his favourite features of the new site – he’s a big fan of the tiramisu and cannoli – but customers will just have to pop in and discover a favourite for themselves.
250 Flinders Ln,
Melbourne, Victoria, 3000
Open Sunday to Thursday 6.00am – 11.00pm, Friday and Saturday, 6.00am – midnight.