A solid chunk of Melbourne’s all-day European-inspired eateries are found in the CBD’s “Paris End” – aka the eastern end of Collins Street. But a few recent additions, including Greta, Scott Pickett’s temporarily closed Le Shoppe and now, Queensmith Baretto, are expanding that offering across the city.

Previously The Cheesecake Shop, Queensmith has given the building new life, embodying what owner Gerard Kelly (Scholar & Co, Kings and Knaves) calls “New York hustle with old-world Italian charm”.

Several key design features – including the eatery’s jewel-toned leadlights – are relics from cafes past. They’re joined by deep-green subway tiles, black-and-white chequerboard floors and marble tables, scattered inside and out. “I wanted to design a space that seems like it’s been here for a long time, and something that works well all year round,” says Kelly.

The counter’s filled with an array of pastries and sandwiches, while simple European dishes – such as Naples-style baked eggs with white beans and open-faced sourdough toast with vodka- and beetroot-cured salmon – are fixtures of the all-day menu. House salads and the braise of the day (which includes a vegetarian option) will rotate regularly.

Queensmith doesn’t serve dinner per se – just a selection of small plates to tide you over beforehand. Think Yurrita anchovies and Savoy crackers; grilled ‘nduja with plenty of bread for mopping it up; and a decadent cacio e pepe toastie made with four types of cheese.

“We’re not planning to be a super late venue, although some nights have gone to the end of the licence,” says Kelly. “The night-time for us is all about the prelude to other activities for the night.”

From 3pm to 7pm, it’s aperitivo hour; find $13 spritzes, $16 Negronis, $8 house wine and tinnies – and complimentary bar snacks. And despite Queensmith’s obvious Italian influence, most of the drinks list is sourced locally. “Products are Australian as much as possible – and a lot are Victorian,” says Kelly. “We’re just trying to support the community.”

Queensmith Baretto
221 Queen Street, Melbourne
0408 263 909

Hours:
Mon & Tue 7am–3pm
Wed 7am–8pm
Thu 7am–10pm
Fri 7am–11pm

queensmith.com.au