Ciao Cielo Launches in Melbourne’s First Courthouse

Say ciao to your new favourite house made pastas, woodfired pizzas and spritzers, because Ciao Cielo is back! This time, in one of Port Melbourne’s oldest and most enchanting heritage listed buildings, and with an exciting new sister venue, Ciao Cucina, launching as well.

After eight years of success, Ciao Cielo has moved and relaunched in Melbourne’s first courthouse. Two years of planning, and a $1.5 million-dollar renovation with the hard work of owners Kate Dickins and chef Bryan Nelson made the new venue a reality. The main courthouse room serves as the dining room for fine dining restaurant Ciao Cielo, and more casual sister venue Ciao Cucina serves up woodfired pizzas and spritzers in an intimate garden dining area outside.

We were invited for a media launch dinner to experience the new venue and taste the menus.

Walking into the new Ciao Cielo dining room, was like walking into Hogwarts. Towering concrete walls encapsulate the room giving way to arched windows and exposed timber beams. A pristine polished marble bar sits to the side, and a blazing fireplace casts shadows on the tables. One impressive table spans the length of the venue, wine glasses and cutlery perfectly aligned, with a row of candles illuminating the meal we were about to share.

Stepping into the stately dining room from a cold winter’s night, felt enchanting and majestic, as if I had suddenly been transported back to the middle ages.

Ciao Cielo is all about the fusion of traditional style and culture with contemporary modernism. Everything from the venue, to the menu, to the way the dishes are prepared has aspects of both. The pasta dishes combine old favourites with modern twists like squid ink linguini, oxtail ragu, and venison ravioli with chestnuts and sage.

During the evening we feasted on a spread of antipasti, Spencer Gulf king prawn risotto, a whole roasted rainbow trout with pancetta, Sardinian style goat leg, with polenta dumplings, and wood roasted sage mushrooms with goat’s curd, and in typical Italian style, a spread of three deserts to finish.  The amaretto bomb was my favourite! Amaretto gelato, orange centre, citrus, amaretti, covered in a perfectly bronzed Italian meringue.

The ambiance and food both made this an evening to remember. The fit out and design is definitely up there on the list of “cool places to dine in Melbourne.” Paired with house made pastas and fine dining Italian fusion, a foodie certainly can’t go wrong at Ciao Cielo.

– Ember Mitchell
Ember is an American turned Aussie. Her love affair with Melbourne goes back five years, and she still can’t get enough of this city! Discovering new hideouts and hidden gems around Melbourne is her hobby. Marketing Strategist by day, spontaneous adventurer, brekky enthusiast, and aerial acrobat by night.  

Ciao Cielo & Ciao Cucina
115 Bay Street
Port Melbourne, VIC 3207

Ciao Cielo re-launches in Melbourne’s first courthouse building, with new sister venue Ciao Cielo offering garden style dining.

Disclosure: The Plus Ones were invited guests of Zilla & Brook
Photo credit: Zilla & Brook