The full menu will launch tomorrow.
A cool new café has just opened its doors in St Venera, and will launch its full (and tempting!) menu of breakfast and lunch dishes starting tomorrow.
As I take a peek into the trendy interior of the sweetly named Marelli Cafe, affable owner and chef Maria Gatt explains how it all came about. After working in London restaurants for a few years, Maria returned to the island late last year, intent on opening her own place in Malta.
The simple yet stylish café boasts a cool yet relaxed vibe which Maria worked on herself, along with her sister Michaela, who is a designer. “We have a different style, but worked together on this place,” Maria says. “I wanted it to feel comfortable, just like the food.”
“I really love the cucina povera concept,” she adds, explaining her preference for simple, genuine dishes using minimal ingredients. “I also like changing things up, so apart from the full menu, we’ll also have regularly changing specials,” she continues, as she opens the door for a delivery of fresh vegetables. “I’ve got some nice strawberries, would you like to see them?” the farmer asks, right on cue. Nodding, Maria rushes out, returning a few seconds later with a heaving crate of fat strawberries.
This is part of the reason she wants a fluid menu. “I get bored of the same things, and I’m always keen to experiment,” Maria says, taking me through the delicious-sounding menu, which consists of breakfast (served all day), bread, pasta and salad options.
Top picks include Marelli eggs, comprised of poached eggs and bacon on fried bread, topped with bechamel. “I love bechamel. It’s kind of a big deal in my family,” Maria enthuses, reminiscing about her grandmother’s baked dishes. “I’ve been experimenting with this one for a while, and it’s definitely one of my favourite things on the menu.”
Other favourites include a house Porchetta ciabatta with pork belly and salsa verde, a classic grilled cheese sandwich with “balla gobon” – her words, not mine – and linguini zucchini, for which the pasta is made fresh.
And after months of experimentation and working on the new menu, the cheerful Maria can’t wait to welcome her first foodies. “I’m really excited to get going and start cooking again, and I’ve even started thinking about a concept for evenings in winter,” she says, but her lips are sealed for the time being.
We’ll just have to wait and see… and in the meantime, we can’t wait to try some of these great-sounding specials!