Lygon St has long since been a destination for traditional Italian cuisine. Walking down the busy strip, you may forgive yourself for thinking you are in Italy as men dressed in waiters uniforms beckon you into their restaurants. So when a modern eatery calling itself “Heartattack and Vine” opens opposite perhaps the most well-known of all the restaurants along Lygon St, Brunettis, it makes a statement.
Heartattack and Vine – named after a Tom Waits song about wayward souls – opened late last year by Emily Bitto and Nathen Doyle (A Minor Place and Wide Open Road). While it may not be the traditional Italian food your Nonna makes, Heartattack and Vine still knows what it’s customers want, drawing on old-world Italian hospitality to create something modern. “We just want to replicate that really relaxed, simple, welcoming hospitality… although I can put on a very good accent.” says Doyle.
Breakfast is Euro-style with Noisette pastries and Wide Open Road coffee. Lunch is equally pared-back, with a choice of rolls filled with either porchetta, prawns or a vegetarian option, with the option of a side or coleslaw and condiments. Those going gluten-free needn’t avoid the place either, as they readily offer these sans roll.
Dinner is a cicchetti menu of small tapas-style dishes including items such as low-cooked meatballs and baccala on crostini, available for show at the front at the restaurant under heat lamps. Enjoy a few small bites and a glass or two of wine before heading on. The succinct wine menu of 5 whites and 5 reds is a mix of Italian and Australian wines, with an impressive range of vermouth and sherry.
With a thoroughly modern atmosphere, Heartattack and Vine offers Lygon St something Italian but in a uniquely Melbourne way.
Heartattack & Vine
329 Lygon St
Carlton VIC 3053
(03) 9005 8624