Massimo Bianchi opened Caffe Bambino in Buckley Walk, Victoria Harbour, with his wife Sonia a year ago. Originally from Turin, Italy, where Massimo worked in the hospitality industry, the couple moved to Australia just over a decade ago. They created and ran the popular South Yarra cafe San Luca for many years, before looking into a business option that allowed them weekends off to spend time with their young son, Luca.
Opening a cafe that operates during the week – sustaining the surrounding office workers’ coffee cravings and keen appetites – suited them perfectly, and Caffe Bambino has steadily cultivated a devoted customer base through its delicious menu, excellent coffee, convivial
atmosphere and good old Italian hospitality.
When asked to share his philosophy on coffee, Massimo replies swiftly and with a twinkle in his eye, “I like it!” This direct, no-nonsense approach is really the key to Caffe Bambino’s success. Most items on the menu are made in house, and simplicity is imperative: “The simpler the better,” says Massimo. “We try to use three or four fresh, high-quality ingredients, and use them well … and I think that always works. You want to taste whatever you’re going to eat, let the flavours speak for themselves.”
This formula applies to the coffee, too. Although beans are imported from Italy, the time in transit is brief in order to preserve freshness, and milk is provided by local dairy Jonesy’s. Massimo acknowledges the brew coffee culture currently thriving in Melbourne, but admits it’s not really his ‘thing’. “We go back to the principle of ‘keep it simple’ – use good beans, good water, good milk – it’s personal though. In Italy, we don’t drink single origin. I think you need a blend to create a good coffee.”
Caffe Bambino’s customers (most of whom have come to the cafe via wordof- mouth recommendations) consist primarily of office workers from surrounding buildings, but there are also many residents who stop by for a coffee and a panini.
Massimo looks forward to the future of Docklands, speaking of the community that is growing as new amenities open. “In summer, lots of kids come into the playground outside the cafe, and there’s a few mothers’ groups that meet. In a couple of years, it’s going to be fantastic.”
Caffe Bambino is located at the back of Serrata at 818 Bourke Street, overlooking Victoria Green.
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