Parkdale probably isn’t the first place that springs to mind when you think of high-end Italian food. But with their smart-casual restaurant and bar, Buono, co-owners Fabio Magliano, Cinzia Buono, and head chef Daniele Ruffolo clearly have other ideas about the quiet, seaside suburb.
Ruffolo’s menu speaks to the coast, and seafood underscores many of Buono’s contemporary Italian dishes. He’s also focussed on seasonality, though a couple of signatures tend to stick around no matter the time of year: a twice-cooked octopus with Italian pork sausage and chickpea purée; and a housemade potato-and-mushroom gnocchi with burnt butter sage, Parmigiano-Reggiano and black truffle.
Then there’s the Instagram-ready dessert of Zabaglione cream, white chocolate foam, salted caramel crumb, and candied guanciale; artfully plated to resemble a fried egg. It’s a fun and popular mainstay.
Magliano previously managed a Michelin-starred restaurant, Locanda Locatelli, in London. But here he’s in charge of vino and has earned Buono top marks in the Australian Wine List of the Year awards for its superlative list of mainly Italian drops.
But if wine isn’t your order, then a flashy cocktail might be. For something completely different, try the house Negroni – it’s a unique take on the classic drink, infused here with San Daniele prosciutto.
The trio has nailed the seaside brief by filling the space with marine hues. Think teal banquette seating, white-painted brick walls, and aqua bar tiling laid to invoke the Mediterranean sea – as opposed to the brackish waters of Port Phillip just down the street.