“Melbourne meets Venice”

Some know her as “La Dominante”, “La Serenissima”, “Queen of the Adriatic”, “City of Water”, “City of Masks”, “City of Bridges”, “The Floating City” and “City of Canals”. Regardless of her proliferation of nicknames, Venice is inarguably one of the most beautiful, historically and culturally rich, vibrant and romantic cities in the world. It has touched the hearts of uncountable human beings and has inspired poets, playwrights, painters, sculptors, singer-songwriters, photographers and chefs, alike. This Venetian vibration is also responsible for bringing three hospitality professionals to their shared moment of truth. Having literally lived in restaurants around the world, Greg Feck, Kim Coronica and David Wickwar were fortunate enough to have crossed paths which flourished into a years-long working relationship. One day, somewhat spontaneously, the trio realised a shared dream, a dream that entailed creating a venue like no other. They wished to translate their common passions into a place combining beautiful food and exceptional old-school hospitality. The Venetian love affair materialised into a fun, family-oriented environment where, first and foremost, customers are the centre of attention. As a result, Feck, Coronica and Wickwar combined their 80 years of hospitality experience into bringing a genuine slice of Venice to Hawthorn. Welcome to Vaporetto.

Vaporetto, meaning “little steamer” in Italian, is the name of the ferry which carries passengers throughout Venice and its local islands – Murano, Burano and Lido. Hawthorn’s version is divided into two distinct parts, the bar and the eatery. The bar is reminiscent of what one would find after having stepped out of a Venetian back alleyway. Upon entering via an old tobacco shop front, guests are warmly and graciously greeted by dark timber, hand-blown Murano chandeliers, marble, aged brass, leather banquettes and oh-so-stylish bartenders. You are invited to sip on traditional Venetian cocktails in beautiful crystal-cut glassware, giving a nod to The Floating City’s intricate history. The full menu is available in the bar, including traditional cicchetti, which may be best described as the Venetian take on tapas. It is worth noting that cicchetti make the ideal pre- and/or post-cinema snack. This is significant, as Lido Cinemas are located literally a stone’s throw away.

Vaporetto Bar & Eatery, Hawthorn


Vaporetto Bar & Eatery, Hawthorn


Vaporetto Bar & Eatery, Hawthorn


The Vaporetto eatery is a touch more light and casual, believe or not. It is an elegant and modern expression of “Melbourne meets Venice”, so to speak. It boasts a variety of available dining spaces which creates a fabulously cosy atmosphere. This cosiness encourages customers to feel welcome, analogous to entering an Italian family home, and reminds them that they are the top priority. The team is prepared to accommodate all requests and to bend over backwards in an attempt to exceed expectations. The menu is a combination of quintessential Venetian classics alongside pure, simple Italian fare. Interestingly, Venice controlled the Spice Trail for centuries. Paying homage to this historical significance, the Vaporetto chefs celebrate the use of cinnamon, cardamom, saffron, turmeric and nutmeg, just to name a few. This extensive use of Asian spices may be the impetus behind Venetian food being described as “Italian food without rules”. So, what exactly does this look like?

Well, it may look like hand-selected oysters, shucked to order and served natural with lemon; calamari cooked in burnt butter, white polenta with sea urchin from Bruny Island, oxtail ‘Nduja’, green chilli, capers, farro and salami crumb; slow-cooked short rib of grain-fed beef from Kyneton with pancetta, cardamom, thyme, parsnip ‘frusta’, cima di rapa and sunflower seeds. A dessert of winter pear poached in Valpolicella with cardamom and star anise, pear shortbread and clotted cream with maple syrup and mandarin oil, is the perfect punctuation to a perfectly satisfying meal. If Venice occupies a special place in your heart, allow Vaporetto to guide you through their version of a Venetian flavour odyssey. It will rekindle your passion for and appreciation of one of the warmest, most charming and generous cities in the world. Vaporetto is located at Rear 681 Glenferrie Road, Hawthorn. Enter via Grace Street.  

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