Essendon Opening

Just Open: 400 Gradi, Essendon

Originally published by Hilary McNevi on, on 18 November, 2015  

Johnny Di Francesco’s 400 Gradi wood-fired pizza empire is rising like well-made dough.

The award-winning pizza chef opened the original 400 Gradi in Brunswick East in 2009 and lit the ovens of Gradi at Crown in October last year.

His latest project is 400 Gradi in Essendon, a 220-seat restaurant on the ground floor of the Mink Apartments, which opened on Wednesday.

There’s seating for 50 upstairs, which doubles as a private dining room, and up to 50 seats outside, with the main dining room next to the open kitchen.

The interior, designed by South Melbourne studio Lombard & Jack, is moody with dark grey walls punctuated by textured wood panelling and black-and-white tiling.

Di Francesco’s menu is consistent with his other venues: salumi, antipasti and, of course, his Neopolitan-style pizzas.

Harry Lilai, until recently the owner-chef at Fitzroy’s Town Hall Hotel, has come on board as executive chef of the Gradi Group, raising the menu bar with trademark dishes, including gnocchi di patate with 20-year-old balsamic vinegar and black garlic, and slow-cooked capretto with lemon, paprika and white wine.


View the original article here.