Pellegrini's Espresso Bar- 66 Bourke Street, Melbourne
Melbourne- it is home to a whole host of iconic experiences and landmarks, some which are old and some which are new, some which are structures and some which are an experience that is personal, treasured and filled with the loud bellowing and singing from an Italian man named Nino.
Perched on the corner of Bourke and Crossley Streets, Pellegrini's Espresso Bar has been serving the people of Melbourne their daily grind since 1954, attracting many loyal regulars for over sixty years. You can pick them too, their comfortable position upon the retro red stool chatting away with co-owner Nino Pellegrini about anything from the latest political scandal to how cool the mornings are getting as winter creeps in.
Hard to miss during the day, the early starters line the counter for their morning buzz, huddled around a hub of conversation, whistling from the retro coffee machine while the the aroma of ground beans and crunchy golden toast fills the senses. By night the crowd is, even more, rowdier with a collection of weary backpackers and seasoned locals all looking for the warmth and contentment that comes from a plate of antipasti, or a hot slice of gateau.
I walk through the door and it still feels like time has stood still, and besides the sun-bleaching of prized happy snaps that line the back of the bar, nothing really changes, including the menu. It's a good old case of it's not broken why fix it? A plate of spaghetti with steaming home-made bolognese sauce and a sprinkle of parmesan on top taste the same as it did 15 years ago. It is $17 worth of pure and utter pasta heaven that I wouldn't swap for the world.
It is in this frozen moment of time that I can sit back, ignore the outside world for 20minutes and completely live in a different time. The staff are never still, serving a lasagne to the businessman with a loose tie on the corner, a toasted ham and cheese sandwich to the young cheerful American couple to my left and a cappuccino to the elderly man who wears bright green pants and looks back every time someone walks through the door.
As I am devouring away my spaghetti, tearing the fresh bread roll into pieces and using them to soak up any remaining sauce, the front door swings open and I hear the ever charismatic Nino shout " How beautiful is Melbourne? If I could, I would marry her" and it is this overt passion and charm that allures me back time and time again.
Pellegrini's Espresso Bar
Address: 66 Bourke St, Melbourne VIC 3000