Who’s hungry like a wolf?
I had the pleasure of meeting Zegna Sciarpa, one of the family members behind Richmond’s latest cafe. Having lived most her life watching her father Carlo make his mark on Melbourne’s cafe and restaurant scene, she thought it was time to pay homage to his roots, and showcase his know how in the kitchen. Carlo shared cuisine from his hometown at both his own cafe Pure Italian in Balwyn, as well as Caffe e Cucina in South Yarra, a Melbourne institution now in its 28th year of operation. Roam is a play on words, reflecting the family’s origins in Roma, Italia. Their logo features a Wolf, which is one of the ancient symbols of Rome, inspired by the legend of the founding of Rome.
Roam is located at the bottom of a modern apartment complex, formerly the home of ‘Long Story Short’. They’ve done away with the steel front bench, and have replaced it with a large marble bench The fit out was carefully mastered by Subtitled Design, and echoes the Roman theme, with a neon light wolf feature on the wall, and a black and white caricature of Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel ceiling painting of the creation of Adam.
The large dining section has a timber framed partition adorned with potted greenery, much like the window boxes commonly found among on buildings in Rome. Discus pendant lights by Volker Haug’s combine the cafes essence, in that they combine a modern design while utilising ancient materials like brass. Large shelves that run along the back wall are stocked with packets of pasta, bottles of wine, and jars of condiments.
There is plenty of nourishments in the glass counter cabinet, including takeaway pizza slices and antipastos, house made bombolone, and a selection of cakes and pastries.
The menu is Italian inspired, with breakfast options that include Toasted Brioche with caramelised apple, amaretti crumbs, and a Mork chocolate ganache; ‘Roaman’ fried eggs with prosciutto, truffle paste, and pea puree; and Pan fried pizza with scrambled eggs, asiago cheese, prosciutto, and rosemary potatoes.
Lunch offering are rich in flavour, and feature Soft polenta with duck ragu and peas; Shallow fried calamari; Risotto with pork & fennel sausage; Spaghettoni Cacio e Pepe (Spaghetti with cheese and pepper); and House made gnocchi.
Interestingly, they have wine on tap, with a Sangiovese from Tuscany, and a Pinot Grigio from Veneto to choose from. They also serve Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Noir, and Cab Sav by the glass or bottle; as well as Italian Beer.
While this Roam doesn’t have a Romulus and Remus, it does have Roland, a head barista with real coffee smarts, who much like the Sciarpa family, knows how to make you feel welcomed. Coffee is roasted locally by Maker Fine, with both espresso and filter options. I had the Kenyan Karindundu as a filter brew, which is from the Barichu Farmers Co-op Society in the region of Nyeri. This mixed SL28, SL34, and R11 lot, had a juicy body, with wonderful sweet fruit tones, and notes of pineapple as it cooled. I also had a long black in their seasonal espresso, the Colombian El Penol. This washed lot from the Antioquia region had a bright acidity, with plum and apple notes.
You won’t have to travel aimlessly to find a fusion between modern Melbourne and traditional Italian style food, just head down to Richmond.
10/53 Coppin Street