First Look: Pidapipo Opens in Degraves Street

Written for Broadsheet

Granitas, Sicilian brioche ice-cream sandwiches and a custom pink terrazzo floor on Degraves Street can only mean one thing: Pidapipo Gelateria has arrived in the CBD.

This is Lisa Valmorbida’s third gelato store, and it’s taken up residence in one of Melbourne’s most iconic laneways.

“We always like our stores to be around good food, and the city has such a great food offering,” Valmorbida says. “It also means we are now offering our gelato in the north, south, and the city.”

Fans will recognise Pidapipo’s signature neon signage but the city location is a sleeker evolution of the more playful, colourful outposts in Carlton and Windsor.

Pidapipo’s longtime designer Rabindra Naidoo has installed bevelled mirrors, leather stools and marble benches in a fit-out inspired by 1920s Italian ‘rationalist’ architecture and the 1930s meets Mad Hatter’s tea party. The shop front features a dramatic steel-framed circular window, which speaks to more curves inside: the polished plaster ceiling is barrel vaulted.

“The shop front feels classic and futurist at the same time, which makes it pretty unique,” Valmorbida says. “And the ceiling being curved is very beautiful.

“Our stores have their own distinct style … [One that] isn’t influenced by the area.”

The Degraves Street location is also her smallest store to date, something she grew to appreciate during the design process.

“We realised small intimate spaces can have more atmosphere and you can really feel part of all the action,” she says.

The store will offer 20 rotating flavours each day, including dulce de leche, black sesame, blood orange granita and fior di latte. All Valmorbida’s gelati is made from scratch each day with Italian and locally sourced ingredients, such as cheese from St Kilda cheesemonger La Formaggeria and honey from a beehive set up on a Carlton rooftop.

“We are always working to evolve,” Valmorbida says. So at the city store, you’ll find a new granita that “you can have on its own or mixed with gelato, sort of like a spider”.

8 Degraves St, Melbourne

Mon to Sun 12pm–11pm

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