Ali Mousavi's father owned Italian restaurants for over 40 years, so it's no surprise that his new Chapel Street hospitality venture will continue the family tradition. Stella, slated to open in September, will be spread over four levels and is set to deliver an Italian food philosophy with a modern Australian twist.
Named after Ali’s daughter, Stella is all about creating a neighbourhood-local feel with an underlying hint of elegance. Each level of the venue has been thoughtfully designed, offering a unique experience on each – from an intimate private dining room in the basement cellar to the ground floor and first-floor dining areas adorned with velvet seating, right up to the sunlit and garden-filled rooftop, there’s something for all occasions and atmospheres.
Head Chef John Park (Ines Wine Bar, Vue de Monde, 400 Gradi) is responsible for the contemporary menu, featuring house-made artisanal pasta, pizzas made in the sculptura Marana Forni pizza oven and regionally-inspired Italian sharing plates and desserts.
To accentuate the Italian-leaning menu, you can expect an extensive list of local and Italian wines, plus plenty of alternative beverages to suit after-work tipples, rooftop cocktails in the sun or a post-pasta nightcap.
Finn Warnock from SUM Design worked closely with Ali to see his vision come to life, with ambient colours and elegant materials used to elevate the heritage-listed 1870s building. “Stella is a contemporary interpretation of a vibrant and traditional Italian trattoria with the circular pizza bar on the ground as the heart of the restaurant," says Mousavi. "Like any true kitchen, it’s where you naturally gravitate, and this is the energy that will flow into the rest of the venue.”
Stella is set to open at 427 Chapel Street, South Yarra in September.