One of the keys words that emerged from 2020 was pivot. A lot of things changed for many people; a great deal of us had to adapt to a somewhat different life to the one we had known before. Married couple Lisa and Sean owned and operated a successful security firm for over a decade employing over two hundred people. Within a short period, they had no choice but to close the business.
However, this closure wasn’t the end for the pair. Based in Varsity Lakes, they were asked if they knew anyone who would take over an old café space. So, with a little imagination and, of course, a love for food, they decided Varsity Lakes was missing a top-notch Italian eatery, and they would be the ones to make it happen.
And voila, you have yourself the newly open Oscar Italia!
From the outside, you’ll find the space nestled at the base of a leafy and modern apartment complex in the heart of Varsity. With plenty of seating options outside, you can enjoy the afternoon sun and eat Italian food the way it was meant to be — al fresco. Inside, the space is split into a few different areas with a smaller tucked away room closer to the kitchen (the spot to smell and feel the magic happening) or window seating leading round into a quieter lounge-style area. Here you’ll come across low-down sofas and a bookcase providing a place for you to enjoy your post pasta comatose with coffee in hand whilst the little ones do some colouring in.
The highlight, though, has to be a couple of swinging wooden chairs, which we are told have already seen much attention — the perfect spot to sip a drink whilst your takeaway order is being prepared for you.
The venue aims to bring locals out of their homes in the area and into a relaxed atmosphere to enjoy some home-style Italian cooking with no stress. Their Head Chef has worked alongside the likes of Jamie Oliver, so when it comes to a menu packed with flavour, you know Oscar Italia no doubt has the goods. Start your meal off with flavoursome staples like their Calamari Fritti with shaved fennel and rocket salad or Nonna’s Meatballs slow-cooked in Arrabbiata sauce. For mains, you can take your pick of one of their ten handmade pasta dishes, or a tasty list of stone-baked pizzas, kindly split into red and white base lists for you. — Brilliant. Oh, and for those of you who like to add toppings or have a special dietary requirement, you will be well looked after.
Naturally, no amount of gorgeous food like this is complete without great drinks. Expect a drinks list with an adequate collection of Australian and international beers, whilst the wine list mixes some standout Italian and Australian made drops, and there’s plenty of soft drinks and milkshakes for those not drinking — or simply not old enough!
The venue will soon open for breakfast and will seriously gear themselves towards express business lunches; ideal for those nearby who want a tasty lunch to break up their workday — but unfortunately can’t graze and sip wine through the afternoon!
And if one enterprise wasn’t enough, the pair have also set about creating a new space just opposite Oscar Italia, and although it is still under construction, we were fortunate enough to have a walkthrough. As a spoiler, it is promising to be a wine bar with a difference and based on an old school English manor house with lashings of leather sofas and old-style fittings — watch this space!
With Oscar Italia, it looks like the eating and drinking out scene in Varsity Lakes just stepped up a notch — bon appétit!
Where: 190 Varsity Parade, Varsity Lakes
Hours: Wed-Thurs: 12pm-9pm, Fri-Sat 12pm-9.30pm, Sun 12pm-5pm
Words by Alex Mitcheson.