Meet the new team and philosophy behind Sosta Ristorante
As soon as it opened in 2007, North Melbourne restaurant Sosta Cucina became a local institution.
It was a simple, yet refined, approach to Italian cooking that set it apart from its contemporaries.
But, following some of the harshest years in hospitality, Sosta’s former owner, Maurice Santucci, had had enough.
Santucci heard there was some interest in continuing the Sosta name, and waiting in the wings was chef Alex Tintori and businessman Frank Remoundos.
While Sosta Ristorante may continue locals’ familiarity with the venue, a new team, new philosophy and new fit-out promise to take the much-loved restaurant into a new era.
Born and raised in Lucca, Tuscany, Tintori (previously Il Bacaro) brings a 15-year culinary career to a new Sosta menu that draws inspiration from his most loved regions of Italy with a sharp focus on sustainability.
“The philosophy behind the new menu is a modern approach to Italian food, focusing more on local produce and working directly with farmers and suppliers,” Tintori said.
“I grew up in a little farm in the heart of Tuscany where everything was made in your home. We make everything from scratch. From the bread to the pasta, it’s all hand-made.”
“You end up with a greater product and greater chance to show respect to the environment by sourcing from sustainable producers … that is what we are committed to.”
Tintori is unwavering in ensuring sustainable practices materialise on the plate. From foraging pine mushrooms or wild garlic flowers on Merri Creek to fermenting mushroom off-cuts into an umami-loaded sauce extract.
The new menu harnesses Victoria’s food bowl to pair with “classic, strong, Italian cooking methods and traditions”, creating a new flavour profile on the plate.
Current favourites include calamari grigliati, with grilled calamari, tomato, garlic flowers and capers; maialino arrosto, a Western Plains roast pork rack, fermented cantaloupe melon and pickled green tomatoes; and spaghetti al grancho, squid ink spaghetti, Fraser Island spanner crab, bone marrow and crab sauce.
Remoundos admits it has been tough educating diners in the new philosophy of Sosta Ristorante since opening in September last year, but it is a challenge he and Tintori are headstrong in facing.
“We want to educate people in the area about the new philosophy and the new team, there is a lot of work that goes into every dish and every ingredient, and we want to showcase it to them,” he said.
“Ours is an approachable attitude to hospitality, from the prices to the services, we want to make our customers feel at home.” •