Tucked away in an alley off Adelaide’s busy Rundle Mall is Il Mondo Caffè Bar, an authentic Italian wine bar and cafe. Il Mondo, Italian for ‘the world’, is an ode to the year owner Luca Chiasserini spent traveling the globe, demonstrated by a large world map behind the bar, bags, travel guide books, flags and other paraphernalia proudly hanging on the walls that Luca collected on his journey.
A popular spot for Adelaide’s office workers, some diners soak up the sun on short wooden stools out front, their drinks resting on cut-in-half wine barrels that double as tables, while others sit inside on high stools as soft jazz music plays overhead.
The wine list has been carefully selected thanks to Luca’s experience as a sommelier in Rome. Italian reds, whites and rose wines are available plus a small selection of South Australian whites, all reasonably priced at around $8 a glass. If you’re looking for a top shelf vino there are a few more expensive reds (not available by the glass) upwards of $100 per bottle. The bar also offers soft drink, beer and spirits including the neat rows of Cinzano, Aperol and Campari on display.
Don’t be fooled, it’s not all prosciutto and salumi – Il Mondo also has a range of simple vegetarian dishes. Open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, the menu reads on a big, round chalkboard behind the bar, inviting diners to ask for more. The pasta is made fresh in the small kitchen and the waiter says that the traditional house made pesto is so good, they are thinking of selling the it by the jar. Adding to the authenticity of Il Mondo are the friendly, heavily-accented wait staff, who all hail from different parts of Italy.
Some highlights of antipasti are the self-assembly bruschetta that arrives with crusty bread and a bowl of juicy diced tomatoes and onion $7 and the tartine bread with rich spreads of porcini and truffles $6. For primi, try the pasta pomodorini e mozzarella with large tubes of fresh pasta coated in a chunky tomato sauce, mozzarella and a sprinkling of parmesan $12.50 or the nutty and light basil and pine nut pesto served with spaghetti, a generous serving for $15.
Twice a day Il Mondo has sittings of aperitivo – in Italy this is enjoyed at the beginning of a meal, similar to an appetiser, where small amounts of food are eaten with a drink such as wine or prosecco, an Italian sparkling dry white wine. A perfect option for the weekday lunch and after work crowd, aperitivo $15.90 includes a Campari or Aperol spritz, beer, coffee or soft drink and snacks changing daily such as pasta, cheese, olives and smallgoods. Diners can graze on aperitivo between 12-2pm and 5:30-7pm Monday to Saturday.