Eighteen months since opening, Small Axe Kitchen has fast become a fave. Now the Brunswick local is serving Sicilian cuisine in the evenings, too.
It’s been a year and a half since Small Axe Kitchen started serving its breakfast pasta. And since Italian in the morning’s proven so popular, they thought they’d try it out in the nighttime as well.
To be fair, an all-day diner has always been on the cards for owner-operators Kirstyn Tate and Adam Pruckner. “Right from the beginning when we were talking with the designer about the space, we were thinking about the transition between day and night,” says Tate. “It was always on our radar. But we waited until we were really happy with where the days were at and then decided to embark on the evenings.”
The team tested Brunswick’s appetite for evening dining with a series of ten pop-up dinners last year. Their success convinced Pruckner and Tate that the timing was right. “People sat down and big long tables all squashed against strangers that they didn't know and ate together,” she says. “It was a really awesome vibe. And we saw that it worked and we saw that the space changes and into nighttime quite well. And so yeah, we decided that this was the year we were going to bite the bullet and do the evenings.”
The emphasis on passing plates across long tables has continued into their official dinner service, with antipasto dishes such as potato croquettes with parmesan mousse, chargrilled sardines with green olive tapenade and golden raisins and foir di latte with black rice all designed to be shared.
More substantial dishes include spaghetti with prawns and pistachio boost and rigatoni with a braised pork and veal ragu. The more adventurous diners might opt for chargrilled octopus with nduja and squid-ink mayo, or a barbecued spatchcock.
The dessert section draws on the Sicilian talent for the stuff, with a house-made almond milk pudding dressed in torrone, a pistachio praline. “I’m a sucker for that stuff,” says Kirstyn. “Anything with torrone on it is a goer in my book.”
Remember also that Small Axe is licensed, and all of the above can be accompanied with a bottle of Italian plonk or a jug of Sicilian Punch - raspberries and mint floating in a bath of prosecco and limoncello.
For those who prefer their pasta in the morning, however, there’s no reason for concern. “We've accidentally realised that that's our signature dish,” says Tate. “Whenever we say we have a new menu, people freak out and think that was changed and taken the breakfast pasta off. But it will never, it will never be gone. It's a permanent fixture. It's not going anywhere.”