This article was created in partnership with Coco Republic
Sitting at a table in a designer furniture shop, among beds, lounge sets, mid-century chairs and stunning marble coffee tables, feels almost forbidden.
It’s exciting, that familiar act of drinking a coffee (or a cocktail or wine) somewhere you usually wouldn’t, and yet there’s something absolutely right about it too. When you scan the store from L'Americano café, you find yourself gazing at living spaces that could be plucked from an interior magazine, each with its own theme, mood and lifestyle reference. If you’re as much a fan of the 1999 movie The Talented Mr Ripley as we are, (starring Matt Damon, Jude Law and Gwyneth Paltrow, it is a must-see) you may recognise the influence of this iconic film noir in the café setting itself – an inspired choice.
It’s really the perfect place to shop for furniture – to slowly scan the room as you linger over delicious food and consider each piece and how it might fit into your home. As owner (and co-director with his nephew Sergio Maglione) Antonio Crisci points out, it brings together the hospitality and retail experiences in perfect harmony. But it gets better. As we discovered, the food here is exceptional too. Among Claire’s favourite items on the menu were the goat cheese and fig crostini which she reckons are reason enough to visit L'Americano, more than the sum of their parts. The gorgeously soft and rich House-made Potato Gnocchi with Gorgonzola and Walnut (pictured at the top of this page) was also a treat. “That’s real gnocchi”, Claire remarked as she ate.
The Truffled Pappardelle with Beef and Pancetta Ragu also caught our eye…and we were grateful that it did - the sauce was silky and flavourful and the pasta was exactly as al dente as you’d hope.
Truffled Pappardelle with Beef and Pancetta Ragu
Claire also loved the crispy cannoli that would have been at home in the best Italian ‘pasticceria’ (pastry shop). We were also thankful to Vivienne Farnell who recommended to us the decadently boozy and luscious Tiramisu with its traditional dusting of dark cocoa powder. We could see why it’s her favourite!
Antonio and Vivienne’s own love of Italian food fuels their passion to get the menu right here. Antonio grew up in Napoli and the cuisine is in his DNA. He is well known as the brains behind Toto Pizza, Non Solo pizza, and Waiheke vineyard and restaurant, Poderi Crisci (find some of the wines from his vineyard on the L’Americano wine list here). Antonio’s favourite item on the breakfast menu is the Prosciutto Avocado Eggs with Toast, and the Cauliflower, Sage and Brown Butter Risotto for later in the day. Vivienne loves the balanced, light and flavourful Carpaccio di Manzo (smoked beef carpaccio). They both agree on the Torta di Cioccolata, chocolate fondant with vanilla bean ice cream, as their favourite dessert option.
The wine list is curated by Antonio and is dotted with many wines from his own Waiheke vineyard, Poderi Crisci, and extended with some of his favourite wines from New Zealand and Italy. When we’d finished marvelling over the Italian fare and washed it all down with bubbles, Claire pointed out that the genius of L'Americano café is that they nail the simple things perfectly. The toast was darkly golden and properly, noisily crunchy. The gnocchi melted in our mouths and the cannoli exploded into shards of shell as we bit into it.
Much like the furniture here, the dishes aren’t overwrought, fussy or complicated, they are simple, and elegantly beautiful. They’ve nailed the little things, and it’s hard to overstate how important that is.
Shop 123 Level/1, 277