I have to be honest and say I went to the old Brunetti in Carlton because it was a Melbourne institution.
The drawcard, besides the cakes and excellent coffee, was the people watching because anyone who was anyone went there as well.
But let's face it, the cafe was too narrow, too clattery to hold a reasonable conversation, and way too crowded to be an enjoyable experience.
[ADVERT]Visiting the new Brunetti in Lygon Court I admit to being totally gob-smacked.
This place is paradise. It is stunning. Eye-popping.
Its like a cavernous Italian mausoleum with its mosaic floor, arching ceiling and polished marble and stainless steel surfaces which are so polished your image is reflected a thousand times over.
If you thought the original Brunetti had a fantastic array of pastries and cakes, the new display has to be seen to be believed. There are showcases of magnificent multi- tiered cakes, macaroons reaching to the heavens and forming a rainbow of colour.
Then there is a huge new pizzeria with its open mouthed fire and on yet another counter a huge pastel palette display of home-made gelati.
In the centre of the huge cavernous space is a circle of coffee machines, manned (or womanned) with at least six operators.
I missed hearing my number and went up five minutes later to see how my coffee is progressing. They'd turfed it. I'm not in the least offended because these barristers are perfectionists. They know the coffee won't be hot enough for the customer if left to sit. Pronto, they made me another.
The staff look immaculate with their waistcoats and cocky bow-ties. Such a touch of class. Of course they always wore such outfits in the old Brunetti, but now they have a classy establishment to go with their gear.
But don't be mistaken, as despite the size of this place, it has lots of intimate cosy corners and outside areas where you can sit with friends for a chat.
A nice touch are the blown-up black and white photos which make the place seem timeless.
Brunetti has always been known as a bit of a tourist Mecca; it just became one for locals as well.
All hail, the new Caesar of Lygon Street. Long may you live.