The brothers behind Wollongong's successful Kneading Ruby Italian eatery have expanded, quietly opening a new pasta wine bar in Globe Lane.
Fred and Kevin Duarte said Restaurant Santino is a "passion project" of theirs, which centres around the making of freshly made pasta.
The venue has taken over a disused shopfront near La La La's with the interior making you feel like you're eating in a 1950s movie set with Cary Grant, Audrey Hepburn and Frank Sinatra at the next table.
"We just saw there was nothing like this around in terms of style of fit out and we wanted to create something we would love going to as well," Fred told the Mercury.
"It's being able to transport people to a destination - like it's a bit New York, a bit Manhattan."
Kevin added that Ruby's was a "whole take on Italy" whereas Santino would be "very much pasta focused".
The siblings wanted to "peel things back" with their menu with more traditional-style dishes using rabbit, ox tongue, a duck ravioli - though there would also be vegetarian and gluten free options, plus a vegan dessert.
We just saw there was nothing like this around in terms of style of fit out and we wanted to create something we would love going to as well. It's being able to transport people to a destination.Fred Duarte
All pasta is made in house, except the gluten free spaghetti which is made by a local chef outside of the business.
Fred added there would also be a big focus on wine with about 100 different labels on the list from Australia, South America and elsewhere around the globe - to be bought by the glass, by bottle or by half bottle.
"We're doing half bottles for some of the more premium wines, if someone wants to try a wine but the price is a bit out of reach ... so 500ml," Fred said.
The Crown Street Mall and Globe Lane have struggled in recent years, and more so during the pandemic, with many businesses moving or falling over.
But the Duarte brothers have faith in the area and think more diversity in businesses will attract more people to the city centre, while believed Wollongong City Council were doing a great job in trying to revitalise the mall.
The shop site also suited their needs to a tee.
"A concept fits a site that you seek," Fred said. "We thought the concept was perfect for what we wanted to achieve and laneways or small style of venues suit our style well."
Santino is open Thursday to Monday, from 5:30pm.
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