Cafe Bedda is one of the most popular restaurant destinations on Northcote's blossoming High Street. This is quite an achievement, when one considers the abundance of culinary choices on this vibrant strip.
Bedda, a version of the Italian "Bella", is a Sicilian word meaning "beautiful." The name is perhaps a telling sign that the focus at Cafe Bedda is on Sicilian flavours and traditions. The interior of Cafe Bedda pays further homage to old-world Sicily, with its checkerboard floor and wooden counter tops. Sicilian artwork also decorates the exposed brick veneer. Meanwhile, many of the ingredients are imported directly from Sicily, including the delicious Messina beer and even the table salt.
Items on the menu at Cafe Bedda include (but are not limited to) large thin-crust pizzas with exotic toppings, homemade pasta like Gnocchi, as well as various seafood dishes. The food is deceptively simple – the use of quality produce and traditional methods of cooking elevate the dishes to a superior level. This is particularly surprising given that most dishes incorporate only a few base ingredients.
The thin-crust pizzas are case in point. They are topped with only a handful of complimenting ingredients. Expect to see capers, chicory, eggplant and various types of seafood. After all, traditional Sicilian pizza has two main characteristics: exquisite dough and a minimal use of toppings. The pizza dough at Cafe Bedda is light, puffy and delicate, with a real melt-in-your-mouth quality. This is a welcome change from modern updates of the humble pizza pie – where emphasis is placed on thick-crusts, ample cheese and grease.
Another shining accomplishment at Cafe Bedda is the desserts – all of which are impeccably presented and generously portioned. Dessert items include Cannoli, different types of Gelato and crepes served with custard, Nutella and vanilla ice cream.
Cafe Bedda provides a niche in the Melbourne culinary scene by specifically endorsing the flavours and traditions of Sicily. The food is exciting, the staff are affable and the surrounding neighbourhood is abuzz with activity. Cafe Bedda makes for a wonderful night out.