The new Italian Renaissance . . . with a bleg at the end

The 1950s saw Australia’s Italian Renaissance which now leaves its traces in the tourist traps of Lygon St. Well they’re not too bad, but if you wanted to go to a good Italian Restaurant you’d have to know what you were doing to get a really good one in Lygon St. But things have been changing. With the slow, grinding, ongoing depression European bureaucrats have cooked up for their populations there’s a steady flow of migrants from the worst hit ‘periphery’ countries.

And the owner of the DOC chain of restaurants is sponsoring them out and giving them work in his three restaurants – one on Lygon St, one on Faraday around the corner and one at Mornington (where the vegetable lasagne is to die for.) The most popular is the Faraday St Pizza joint (which – very rarely for Australia – has queues outside it), but our favourite is the Carlton Espresso on the Eastern side of Lygon between Faraday and Grattan. There wonderful waiters and waitresses who I presume are here on ‘backpackers’ visas, treat you to fabulous Italian hospitality and completely fabulous food. The papardelle porcini mushroom is fantastic, as are waiters Ameliano, Andrea, Leon, Martina and any number of others. Most of the waiters are men. And a preponderance of the diners are women. Then again one of the waiters is called Eros, so I guess it’s not that hard to guess what some of the drivers are.

In any event lots of these people are here and trying to get into Australia. They’re all incredibly nice people and being italians lots of them are very well trained.  One of them (a really nice person – like them all really – in her mid-twenties from Tuscany) – has a degree in economics and engineering is doing research assistance for Lateral Economics! It seems to me, while we scour developing countries to snaffle their resources of skilled labour to enable us to maintain the shitty wages we pay teachers, nurses and such like, we should be over in Europe with our shingle out on the street trying to get some more great migrants from Europe.

Anyway, I thought I might do an op ed on this. And here is my bleg – and why this post is here. Since my column is published in both the Age and the SMH, can someone point me to some similar phenomena in Sydney (it would even be good with a different ethnicity).

This entry was posted in Blegs, Economics and public policy, Immigration and refugees. Bookmark the permalink.
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Pappinbarra Fox
Pappinbarra Fox
9 years ago

Please, contributors to Troppo are generally erudite and thoughtful, so please avoid cliches (to die for?) Really!

john r walker
john r walker(@annesanders)
9 years ago
Reply to  Nicholas Gruen

society is to blame

Tel
Tel
9 years ago

Probably Norton Street, Leichhardt is the best known part of Sydney for Italian culture, although personally I think there’s a better established but less publicised Italian quarter around Marrickville, Tempe, etc.

Really though, it isn’t clear cut, very few around here take those delineations seriously, and there are Italian restaurants in every shopping centre you care to name. I’m ever so tempted to say we don’t actually need any more pizza joints, but no doubt someone will tell me Melbourne is better or something.

john r walker
john r walker(@annesanders)
9 years ago

Haberfield is a great place for Italian food shopping. The IGA etc are fantastic… but do not go on weekends….unless you have a lot of time, best days are Monday and Tuesday

derrida derider
derrida derider
9 years ago

I reckon Sydney has truly fabulous top-end restaurants but Melbourne is a long way ahead in the cheap and cheerful dining stakes. ‘Cept maybe if you head out to the Vietnamese at Cabramatta.

Which fits with what I’ve long believed – if you are seriously rich Sydney is the best city in Oz to live in, but just about the worst if you’re not.