As our new normal changes once again with easing COVID-19 restrictions allowing restaurants to accommodate up to 20 people, eating with friends and loved ones in the real world is once again a reality.
So, what does this mean for the hospitality industry in the region? For beloved Italian restaurant Trecento in Manuka, they are working towards a balancing act of dine in, takeaway and delivery.
“We have always offered takeaway, but once the COVID-19 restrictions came in we had to re-think our offering. We had some discussion around using third party delivery partners but determined it was not viable. Plus, we had concerns around the quality of these delivery services – so we decided to get our own app up and running and offer delivery services utilising our existing front of house staff,” founder and part-owner Jon Kosteski told Region Media.
“It has been tough! There is no doubt about that. We have seen a huge drop in our weekly revenue and a rapid shift in the way we do things. We have approached the situation as positively as we can. When things are out of your control – you adapt to make it work. It has been a learning experience and we have had to move quickly to keep afloat, but we have noticed that Canberra is rallying behind small business. This type of support has not only kept us going financially, it has kept us emotionally driven to make it through, to survive this tough period.
“One thing we have definitely missed is the interaction with our customers, being able to connect with a diverse group of people over the beautiful thing that is food! This, to us, is what the industry is built on. We look forward to being able to welcome guests back into our venue and have these interactions once again and do what we love – feed the lovely people of Canberra.”
With the easing of this round of restrictions, the team has been getting ready to welcome dine-in customers.
The interior of the restaurant has been freshened up and their re-opening day on 2 June coincided with the launch of a new winter menu. Along with existing and enticing favourites of antipasti, pizza, pasta, sides, mains, desserts, and wine, expect to see a few subtle changes with a shift towards even more handmade pasta and use of the woodfired oven for hearty meat dishes such as Osso Bucco and Lamb Shanks.
One thing that will not change though is the friendly familiar faces and focus on authentic regional Italian flavours and techniques at Trecento, said Jon.
“We started Trecento in 2016 but the initial passion started much earlier when we first tasted Napoletana-style pizza while on a family trip to Italy, specifically when we visited Napoli. This led to my brother Josh and I travelling back to Naples to do six month’s volunteer training, working with the best pizza restaurants in Naples.
The next step was to sign up with the Associazione Verace Pizza Napoletana and complete their certification.
“Our passion revolves around true authentic Neapolitan pizza, but also encompasses regional Italian cuisine, wine, and culture. We always strive to educate our clientele on what we do, how we do it, and why. Overall, we love what we do, we have faith in our offering, and we love our customers and our beautiful little home away from home perched on what we consider the tranquil side of Manuka.”
And if you’re wondering about the name, it’s pure serendipity.
“We found that during that process [of setting up the restaurant], the number three started appearing in everything we were doing. That’s how we came up with the name Trecento, meaning 300 in Italian: a 300-year-old Naples recipe, three partners, Manuka Plaza Shop 33, postcode 2603 …
For those not yet ready to venture out, the home delivery and take away option can bring the Italian classics into your home.
“Given our positive experience and lessons learned around delivery, we intend to continue to offer delivery services even once the restaurant is fully operational again.”
Trecento is located at Unit 33, Manuka Terrace, Manuka. For home delivery, head to the website. Trecento is open for lunch from Thursday to Saturday, 12:00 pm to 2:30 pm; for dinner Tuesday to Thursday from 5:00 pm to 9:00 pm; on Friday and Saturday from 5:00 pm to 10:00 pm; and on Sunday from 5:00 pm to 9:00 pm.