If you’ve ever dined at Shop225 in Pascoe Vale South, then you need to put 113 Eatery on your list of must-try restaurants in Melbourne.
113 Eatery is the latest restaurant by Lorenzo Tron, Roberto Davoli and Edoardo Nicita; the owners behind the Shop225 experience. Shop225 is famously known in Melbourne for its authentic Italian food and hospitality. Now, 113 Eatery in Northcote continues the legacy and legend.
So, what’s new?
While Shop225 delivers an intimate pizzeria experience, 113 Eatery is stepping it up a notch. 113 Eatery has teamed up with ethical coffee brand Illy to bring the full Italian dining experience to Northcote including some of the best coffee Melbourne. While vegans and coeliacs can still dine here confidently, the menu features some new meals and tastes that distinguish 113 Eatery from Shop225.
Also, the floor-plan is entirely bespoke. There’s the sprawling, spacious dining area as you walk in, crowned by a mezzanine area on the second level. Wander a little deeper into the space and you’ll find an intimate courtyard to the rear which will be perfect once Melbourne’s balmier nights kick in. Or, you can choose a table out on the footpath near the entrance. White-washed walls and bare wooden timber give 113 Eatery a simple yet modern canvas on which to wine and dine its guests.
Wining and Dining is what 113 Eatery is all about
The bar is stocked and stacked to the ceiling, enticing its guests to choose from an extensive range of cocktails, drinks and nightcaps. The bar is the central point where guests are welcomed by that familiar and warm approach Shop 225 is known for. It’s comforting to know that loving Italian spirit has travelled here to Northcote without losing its personable touch.
As you’re delivered to your table, you’re instantly drawn to the waiting staff’s friendly service. It’s as if you’ve arrived and returned ‘home’; all guests here are treated like family.
Water is enthusiastically delivered to the table, along with a refreshing glass of Limoncello Spritz. If you’re vegan, you might become so overwhelmed by the food choices here that you might need a little extra thinking time. The waiting staff naturally insists there’s no rush: “Take you time!”
All dishes suit any night of the week
The appeal to 113 Eatery is that you can dine here any day – or night – of the week and the menu suits this well. If it’s a quick mid-week dinner you need, then come in for a quick pizza or bowl of pasta. Over the course of a weeknight, you’ll see locals order a round of their favourite pizza and drink, scoff it all down and head home before dusk sets in. Others may linger a little longer to sample all courses on offer, particularly on weekends when a Saturday night dinner party arrives. If you prefer to dine st home, 113 Eatery also offers takeaway.
You can have the best of both worlds here, and 113 Eatery’s menu allows you to eat as quickly or as slowly as you wish. My tip is to order a few plates of things over three courses so that you can sample the best of 113 Eatery without over-filling yourself.
What to order!
For entrée’, I recommend a serve of Mushroom Arancini and a bowl of Insalata Di Rucola. The aranchini balls have a delicate, crunchy crust on the outside and the mushroom risotto inside is soft, moist and full of flavour. The balls are served with a cheese and truffle fondue underneath, all made vegan and gluten-free. The insalata is a fresh and colourful mix of roquette walnuts, plump cherry tomatoes and a light, seasoned dressing.
For mains, you can go as small or as big as you wish here. All main-sized pizzas come in one size, but you can order a kid-sized pizza if you plan to order pastas, too. Try a simple vegan gluten-free Margherita pizza that’s topped by pomodora sauce, house-made soft and melted vegan cheese and freshly torn basil. Then, pair it with Paccheri Ai Fungi pasta. This is a pasta dish that is based on a seasonal mushroom ragu; a lightly flavoured and full-bodied taste of that will have you licking your bowl afterwards. Order the vegan version to get the best of 113 Eatery’s tasty vegan cheeses; the gluten-free version comes with penne. Simplicity is at the heart of all food here, which makes it some of the best-tasting Italian in town.
Yes, basil is a prominent theme here…
As you walk in to 113 Eatery, you can’t help but be drawn by two elaborate ceramic faces sitting on the bar. These are a common feature in terraces and gardens in Sicily, known as Moorish head (a fancy plant pot) and are made by skilled craftspeople.
According to local legend, a young lady loved to pick flowers from her balcony garden. A Moor passed by her balcony one day and fell in love with her. He declared his love for her, and she eventually fell in love with him.
Long story short, she eventually discovered that her lover was also married with children. In her anger, she decapitated her lover and used his head as a plant pot. She even planted a seed of basil in it!
The basil plant then grew strong because it was watered by the lady’s tears each day. Neighbours were so impressed by the basil’s scent that they created their own terracotta pots resembling the Moor’s head. You can read the full story on a wall here at 113 Eatery as well as admire the lovers’ gorgeous faces that are recreated in artwork on its wall.
Once you’ve read the story, stay for dessert…
By now, you should have a little room for something sweet. If you want a dessert to share then, the Calzone Pistachio is the perfect option. This is a dessert pizza, topped with generous lashings of pistachio flavoured ‘nutella’. The flavour is rich, smooth and sweet; a sweet tooth’s dream. If you only want a small dessert, choose a ricotta chocolate Cannoli or two. This is a delicate, crispy pastry that’s filled with creamy chocolate filling and finished with crushed pistachios. If you can’t finish your dessert (or mains for that matter), then simply ask for a takeaway box. The staff are happy to oblige.
Both of these desserts come in vegan and gluten-free options so you can still enjoy the spoils of an authentic Italian dessert. Both partner well with a soy latte made from freshly ground coffee from Illy. This brand actually originates from Lorenzo’s home city of Trieste on the coast of north-east of Italy, which is the perfect coffee choice for 113 Eatery.
Come and experience 113 Eatery for yourself any day of the week. 113 Eatery, 113 High Street Northcote Victoria 3070 Australia. Phone: +61 3 9429 0457. Open Monday to Thursday 3pm to 9.30pm, Friday and Saturday 3pm to 10pm, Sunday 12 noon to 9.30pm. Takeaway is also available.
Disclaimer: Justine de Jonge of Fire & Tea dined at 113 Eatery courtesy of the restaurant. All views expressed in this review are her own.