“THE gourmet Italian restaurant in Melbourne”

Located 200km west of the Italian mainland, Sardinia is the second-largest island in the Mediterranean Sea, next only to Sicily. It is a truly magical part of the world, a primarily mountainous region that is inhabited by deer, wild horses, mouflon sheep and golden eagles, and it boasts the unique and other-worldly Nuragic constructions. The Nuragic constructions are remnants of a mysterious ancient culture which existed between the 16th and 15th centuries BCE, some of which are included among the sites in the UNESCO World Heritage List.

Fortunately for Melburnians, Sardinia is also the birthplace of local chef and restaurateur Pietro Porcu, owner-operator of the South Yarra Italian dining institution, Da Noi. Porcu recalls, “I have splendid memories of working the land with my family and taking care of the animals. Everything we ate was home produced and thus you can imagine the flavours! I remember vividly at the age of five, sitting in the shade of a large almond tree and my grandfather would teach me how to use a Sardinian knife.” Along with the ancient secrets of Italian fine dining, it is this childhood experience of growing up on a farm in Sardinia that Porcu has brought to and shared with the local community.

With the blood of a glorious cook, his mother, and an amazing gardener, his father, coursing through his veins, Pietro Porcu’s desire to travel the world saw him depart Sardinia at a mere 20 years of age. Not surprisingly, the young adventurer found himself earning a living in a restaurant kitchen – preparing pizzas, washing dishes and, generally speaking, working in a fast-paced environment. This is the moment at which, it could be argued, the entrepreneurial seed was planted and took root. Porcu admits, “Why, I didn’t know yet, but I remember I was never happy with how other chefs would prepare their food, so I did it myself.” This do-it-yourself spirit grew and flourished over the years, culminating in the opening of Da Noi in 1997. As anyone who knows anything about the local hospitality landscape can attest, 24 years of successful restaurant operation is no mean feat. As a matter of fact, some may describe it as nothing short of a miracle.

Da Noi, South Yarra

DINE AT DA NOI

Da Noi, South Yarra

VISIT DA NOI

Da Noi, South Yarra

BOOK DA NOI

Da Noi possesses a warm, cosy, welcoming and charming atmosphere. Make no mistake, it is an Italian restaurant that sets the mood for romance, utilising white linen tablecloths and dim lighting to complement an intimate space that is divided between two levels. The creaky floorboards and art-lined dining room invite customers to be indulged and looked after by the ‘Feed Me’ menu. This menu, built around the freshest local seasonal produce, changes daily and reflects a Sardinian sensibility that drives carefully crafted and innovative Italian dishes that perfectly balance the elements of rusticity and refinement.

By the way, it is very much worth noting that nearly all of the ingredients used in the Da Noi kitchen are sourced from Porcu’s very own farm, located in Yark. These include succulent Saddleback pork, Dorper sheep, Boer goat, Lowline Angus beef, chickens, ducks, free-range eggs and organic fruit and vegetables. The spontaneity and personalisation of the dishes – often differing from table to table, even, as the talented staff consult to deliver an entirely bespoke menu – is what makes the Da Noi experience truly special, enjoyable and, quite frankly, like no other. The mission statement sums it up quite nicely: “Leave it up to us. We will look after your dinner. Just trust us and relax.” This is to say, of course, that this type of a menu is not for the fainthearted. For the brave and open-minded, however, a decision-free evening contains all of the elements of a perfectly relaxing and satisfying evening. “THE gourmet Italian restaurant in Melbourne” is situated at 95 Toorak Road. Booking are recommended. Satisfaction is guaranteed.

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