Fresh, delicious food and ambience that promises to transport you to the Italian Coast have come to the Canberra Centre in the form of L’Americano Espresso Bar and Restaurant.
Commanding the big, beautiful corner on Bunda Street and Petrie Plaza, the restaurant, which opened in November last year, sits commandingly atop its sister company, the luxe furniture and homewares showroom of Coco Republic.
Walking in for the first time off the street, you are greeted with an expansive, light-filled space that is separated into two areas. The first is anchored by a large semicircular bar that looks primed for an aperitivo or two as it is stocked to the brim with Campari and the like. It is surrounded by smaller two-seater tables for those looking for a quick bite to eat.
Off to the left, where I am being led for dinner, is the dining space with a mix of tables and booths. One thing you notice straight away is the furniture and decorative elements throughout which, of course, are supplied by Coco Republic.
The aesthetic draws inspiration from the novels and subsequent movie The Talented Mr Ripley, evoking the charm of the Italian Riviera in the 1950s.
The menu is also a journey to Italy, offering interesting antipasti such as Roast Black Figs wrapped in Prosciutto, mouth-watering pasta selections of King Prawn Spaghettini and substantial mains of a Free-Range Pork Collar.
I am here to enjoy one of my favourite food groups, pizza. A recent addition to the L’Americano menu, they are stone-fired with ingredients meticulously chosen.
“To make pizza in a true Neapolitan style that trademarks a light, pillowy crust, we use a blend of two Italian flours, Caputo and Spadoni,” says food and beverage manager at L’Americano, Tom Issacs.
“We also use an Italian D.O.P San Marzano tomato and Fior di Latte cheese. It has a sweet, light, and delicate flavour that melts into the pizza sauce without becoming oily or salty. The white colour of For di Latte perfectly contrasts with the deep rich red of the San Marzano tomatoes.
“These are the main, base ingredients that create an authentic Italian-style pizza. Italian cooking is simple and uncomplicated, so less is more.”
There is a selection of six pizzas, standouts include the two Bianco (white) pizzas. There is the earthy Mushroom and Tallegio. The ‘meaty’ mushrooms are finished with truffled tapenade and truffled pecorino that adds decadence and an unmistakable aroma. The King Prawn pizza is visually colourful with yellow and green zucchini that features a hint of chilli, red onion and rosemary finished with rocket and cherry tomato halves to balance the richness of the cheese.
Paired with a glass of an Italian grape variety wine and a simple Rocket and Parmesan Salad, it ticked all the boxes for me for a great dinner date night, be it romantic, a family night out, or a friend catch-up. L’Americano has struck the balance of good service, lovely atmosphere, but not at all fussy or stuffy.
L’Americano is located at 148 Bunda Street, Canberra City and is open for lunch seven days a week and dinner from Tuesday to Saturday.