Casey Wall

CAPITANO, MELBOURNE

Gourmet Traveller (Australia) - - News -

Casey, you’re al­ready in­volved with Rock­well and Sons, and Bar Lib­erty, and now you and the Bar Lib­erty team – Banjo Harris Plane, Michael Bascetta and Manu Po­toi – are open­ing Capitano, an Ital­ian-Amer­i­can pub. What in­spired it?

The idea of Capitano was ce­mented when we took over the pizza car­a­van at Moon­dog Brew­ery for a night and recre­ated all our pop­u­lar dishes from both Rock­well and Lib­erty on their pizze. It was some­thing we al­ways wanted to do, but we needed to find the right spot first. Banjo has al­ways wanted an Ital­ian space – he’s ob­sessed with pep­per grinders. Michael, Manu and I have a more in­trin­sic love of the red-sauce joints of Amer­ica.

Where did you eat dur­ing your last trip to New York?

We dined at Ba­monte’s and Car­bone on back-to-back nights to see a match-up of “orig­i­nal” ver­sus “modern” in­ter­pre­ta­tions of the same restau­rant. Ba­monte’s was hi­lar­i­ous and fun – peo­ple go be­cause their fam­ily has been go­ing there for 35 years. Car­bone has been open for only five years, but seems like it could be 50 years old. Ev­ery sin­gle thing they did was ex­cep­tion­ally ex­e­cuted.

What did you learn from your trav­els?

How good Ital­ian food can be, even out­side of Italy. I’ve al­ways felt that Ital­ian food isn’t about recre­at­ing recipes from Rome or Si­cily, but cook­ing in the style of those places, rel­a­tive to the pro­duce that’s im­me­di­ately avail­able to you.

So you won’t re­strict your­self to us­ing only Ital­ian in­gre­di­ents?

I think us­ing Ital­ian in­gre­di­ents ex­clu­sively is a crutch. Why use old flours im­ported from Italy or frozen buf­falo moz­zarella when Ital­ian food cel­e­brates fresh­ness? There’s a lot of amaz­ing pro­duce here in Aus­tralia that cel­e­brates that same ethos. We will be mak­ing moz­zarella each morn­ing, and re­ceiv­ing weekly de­liv­er­ies of freshly milled flours from nearby pro­duc­ers.

You have Blake Gi­blet on board as Capitano’s head chef. How did you end up work­ing to­gether?

I’ve known Blake as long as I’ve been in Melbourne, and he’s been at Rock­well for two years now. I’d orig­i­nally asked him to cover a cou­ple of shifts while he was in town re­new­ing his Bri­tish visa, but the visa fell through, and, lucky for us, we got to keep him. Capitano, 421 Rath­downe St, Carl­ton, Vic, (03) 9347 8171, capitano.com.au

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