It doesn’t get much more Italian than a deli created by four siblings as an homage to their Italian heritage!
Via Porta is the newest addition to Melbourne’s dining scene, owned by two outstanding chefs, Ryan and Simon Cosentino, front-of-house expert Jonathan, and their sister, Sarah Cosentino, co-director of Studio Esteta, who designed this stunning space.
‘My brothers and I have worked together in the sense of a designer and client relationship, but I steer clear of the floor and operational side of things. They prefer it this way!’ Sarah says.
Simon previously worked for Melbourne-based French chef Philippe Mouchel, and at the Michelin star recognised Restaurant Serge Vieira in France. Ryan also learned his craft in France under chefs Serge Vieria and Romuald Fassenet, and more recently worked with Guy Stanaway at Jackalope’s restaurants Doot Doot Doot and Rare Hare. On the other hand, Jonathan has extensive experience running the Cosentino’s previous family cafe.
Via Porta is located in Mont Albert, an eastern Melbourne suburb not typically recognised for its culinary offering, but the natural location for this business. Not only did the Cosentino family grow up in Mont Albert, the suburb borders on the sibling’s first (now sold) cafe, Mr Hendricks.
The business is essentially an extension of a traditional Italian family kitchen and pantry. Included in the space is an eatery (soon to be a restaurant), along with a deli providing take-home meals and house-made condiments. There’s also a selection of local and imported cold meats, cheeses and artisanal foods.
‘Our concept of an eatery and deli stemmed from our childhood memories spent with our Nonna’s learning how to master Italian cooking,’ says Sarah. ‘We were fortunate that while growing up, the fridge and pantry were always well stocked with the Italian staples: a large jar of Sicilian olives, the good quality Parmigiano, cured meats, and far too many cans of peeled tomatoes and Nonna’s passata. I’m sure many European families can relate to this!’
The interiors are rich in detail, while remaining pared-back and refined. A key influence behind the design is the quaint and narrow alleyways of Italy, referenced in textural limestone on Via Porta’s counter. Another highlight of the space is the crazy paving flooring (obsessed!), which was developed in the most economical and environmentally-friendly way possible using stone offcuts from various suppliers.
After two years in the making, Via Porta is now open for business. ‘The final result is a testament to hard work, dedication and three tolerant clients who weren’t afraid to get their hands dirty,’ Sarah says. ‘We are biased, but it’s a special project – definitely worth a visit!’
677 Whitehorse Road
Mont Albert, Victoria