The Secret behind the Mona Lisa Smile…

It seems that the catchcry of everyone in the restaurant industry these days is ‘seasonal’ and ‘local’, but when Da Vinci’s Italian Restaurante Summer Hill acquired Executive Chef Luca Melis from the former Bistecca Italian in Abbotsford, a new genre outside of industry trends was discussed.

Owners Joseph Rechichi and Valerie LoPresti were more interested in the simple, honest truth of bringing a meal to the table that was created and shared using the local recipes of regional Italy.

Chef Luca was born and raised to meet the task of the pair. Resurrecting dishes from his youth in Italy and upbringing in his father’s Sardinian trattoria, Luca has breathed new life into Da Vinci’s Summer Hill with his tantalizing, handcrafted menu from all the regions of Italy. For Luca, creation is everything, with each dish being meticulously prepared using a combination of the local seasonal bounty that Australia offers and artisan skill that is rare seen today outside of fine dining restaurants.

Joseph and Valerie say fine dining is dead – so little in it these days with PR spin and perfunctory dishes, which fit the bill to justify high pricing, but have no life and passion.  That life is alive and well in every dish on the Da Vinci’s menu – and in the chalkboard speciali which show the incredible prowess of Chef Luca. What that means for customers is a veritable cornucopia of choice, as you work through the landscape of Italy. Ligurian handmade pesto is prepared with handmade fettuccine, roast potato and green beans, Southern Italian Ragu di Manzo is simmering away in the kitchen, Pugliese orecchiette with salsiccia and broccoli will tantalize your tastebuds with fresh fennel, the list is difficult to choose from.

If you show up early enough before the crowds, you will be entertained seeing the pizzaioli creating the grissini, fresh, warm woodfire breads and metre length focaccia. Stacked up in the window as it cools from the oven, you can use to ‘fare la scarpetta’ (mop up the sugo) or  purchase for home.

Da Vinci’s Italian is a key feature of the Summer Hill Village, ensuring the piazza is a platform for long days into wonderful evenings, where families, friends, lovers and all are welcome. Regulars in the know sit  drinking Il Teo and Sangiovese whilst grazing on Sardinian style Cozze al Pomodoro served in 1 kg pots and chargrill octopus whilst enjoying the landscape of the space. Be warned, you have found your new Italian local! Like Da Vinci’s Mona Lisa, you will be smiling. Buon Appetito!