Saluministi started out as a pop up cafe/paninoteca in a North Melbourne warehouse 12 months ago and it has now found a permanent home in Victoria Harbour, Docklands.
I was invited to check out the new space ahead of their opening today 26 July. My old favourites, such as the house made porchetta rolls and the bomboloni, are still there. But Saluministi now benefits from a light-filled space, a larger kitchen and a fantastic location next to Library at the Dock, the playground at Buluk Park and the new Knowledge Market creative hub.
It’s clear that even after 12 months the owners have not lost their passion for Saluminsti. I watch a demonstration of how they make their famous porchetta while Frank, one of the co-owners, enthusiastically talks about how he wants to bring to diners the sort of food that he grew up with in an Italian family.
The porchetta uses pork belly and loin from Kirkpatrick’s Meats sprinkled with fennel seeds, thyme, rosemary and salt and pepper then rolled up. The slow roasting process ensures that it’s melt-in-the-mouth and Saluminsti sell porchetta rolls at a 2:1 ratio to everything else on the menu.
The cafe’s focus is on doing a couple of things really well so they mainly serve paninis. The menu includes a melt-in-the-mouth free range porchetta stuffed with artichoke paste, rocket and shaved pecorino ($12), a cotoletta just like nonna’s with a vincotto mayo, Italian coleslaw and provolone ($12) and a slightly spicy pork and fennel sausage with roasted peperonata and pecorino ($11).
The ciabatta pillowy soft and not so crusty it hurts your mouth. Frank won’t divulge his secret supplier but did wax lyrical about the 36 hour proven dough and stone-baked bread.
We accompany our sandwiches with small serve of patate fritte, crispy chips zhuzhed up with fresh herbs and reggiano ($5).
The coffee is made with Lavazza and the cafetiere is a bargain. A traditional Neapolitan-style 2 cup with a syrupy crema on the bottom can easily satisfy 3 or 4 people and it comes with some biscotti for only $8.
Finally, try the sugar encrusted bomboloni, made fresh every day. These are Italian-style doughnuts, so a bit denser than the standard American-style doughnut, but still very light.
Both the Nutella and slightly citrus crema paticcera are delicious.
Saluminsti serves up authentic, old school Italian goodness in an area that is currently lacking in really good quality food. The simple formula should prove a hit with nearby workers, tradesman and families hanging out at the library and playground. They are currently still seeking approval for outdoor seating and once that’s in place it’ll be the perfect place to hang out on a sunny day. Buon appetito!