Santucci’s cafe

Santucci’s cafe is an institution in Koornang Road. For years, the cafe has been a home away from home for many Carnegietes and is known for its comfortable and inviting homestyle, Italian foods and friendly banter. The flagship store branched out early in 2012 to include a second cafe in Camberwell, on Toorak Road. Together, the two cafes have maintained their unique and distinct presence, quietly taking over the hearts of everyone who visits.

scrambled eggs with potato rosti, avocado and grilled tomato

scrambled eggs with potato rosti, avocado and grilled tomato

Rita Santucci put her dream of starting a cafe into fruition in 1992, predicting the future buzz of the Carnegie area. Over the last 20 years, as more cafes set up shop next door, she has built a perfect Italian family business through persistence, hard work and the joy of making fresh, homestyle foods. Santucci’s is a family affair as Rita’s sister is responsible for the array of delectable cakes and sweets whilst her two nephews have developed into mighty fine coffee connoisseurs and baristas – taking their own – by opening the Camberwell location themselves. The team use Gravity Coffee which assumes the strong, dark, Italian style roast that bodes so very well as a double ristretto, bringing out the dark-chocolate, rich flavours that leave a substantial aftertaste.

cold drip over ice

cold drip over ice

Unafraid to experiment, the barista team also run an assortment of third wave coffee, developing their craft with the cold drip (above) and always maintaining a balanced menu with ever changing single origins from a range of different roasters. The food, speaks for itself. Using mainstay Italian favourites, the ever changing menu exploits  developed flavours and pushes the boundary by trying new combinations. Often, many dishes resemble a middle eastern vibe from dukkha infused potato rosti to spiced risottos served with pumpkin breads.  Far from confused, the robust flavour generated in a Santucci kitchen exhorts creativity and innovation, perfectly matched to the design and decor of Rita’s vision.

poached eggs on pumpkin bread served with asparagus and

poached eggs on pumpkin bread served with asparagus and lentil hollandaise

As a mosaic and pottery artist, Rita’s cafe is crammed with eclectic artwork, photography and pieces from her own studio and local artists. Cluttered but ordered, the cafe floor is flooded with mismatched chairs and tables, souvenir teaspoons – found often in Grandmother’s kitchen or the Salvos – and beautiful crockery. Assuming a very Mediterranean feel,  the summery yet cosy cafe, both in Carnegie and Camberwell is a comfort and delight to visit. Faced with a celebration of family culture and heritage through fresh food, damn fine coffee and well directed staff, there is not much to dislike about Santucci’s.
94 Koornang Road, Carnegie, 3163
1392 Toorak Rd, Camberwell, 3124