A compact Italian diner with Italian food seen through the dynamic lens of Matt McDonald, paired with an equally dynamic list of hard-to-source wines, which you can take away, too.
The regular’s tip
Finish off your meal with a digestivo from the extensive list.
The nuts & bolts
Tania Nicolo and Ryan Bookless opened Italian-Australian wine bar Mummucc’ (pronounced mah-mooch) in early 2019 as an overflow area of sorts for their wildly popular pizzeria, Monsterella, which is just four doors down on Wembley’s Grantham Street.
It didn’t take long for the 60-seat venue to become a destination in its own right, with locals flocking for chef Matt McDonald’s modern wine bar food and a drinks list stacked with boutique Italian and Australian producers. The space is often packed – the team started taking bookings after COVID-19 restrictions relaxed last year, but bar space is kept aside for walk-ins.
“Our main focus lies in the heart of Italian tradition based on our heritage, yet with a modern interpretation and ideas,” Nicolo says. There’s also a close connection to family – Monsterella was named for Nicolo and Bookless’ young daughter’s extremely cute mispronunciation of mozzarella, and Mummucc’ is for Nicolo’s grandmother (mummucc’ means mother in Abruzzese dialect).
McDonald, who has a cafe background and an Italian heritage of his own, transitioned across from the pizzeria to open Mummucc’. “Matt aims to challenge the expectations of what’s on offer in your usual suburban wine bar,” Nicolo says. His plates are simple and direct, with unexpected twists – think whole prawns doused in butter with a lick of chilli vinegar, or hibachi-grilled leeks with Comté cream and wakame za’atar. The menu becomes all the more impressive upon learning that McDonald is literally the only chef in the tiny open kitchen.
The wine list sticks to the same Italian-Australian vibe as the menu and features boutique West Australian and Italian producers. It’s not exclusively natural or lo-fi, however Nicolo and Bookless are careful to source from producers with a minimal approach to winemaking and vineyard maintenance. In theory, anything that makes it onto the list must be approved by consensus, but Nicolo admits that rule goes out the window if she stumbles across something she really loves.
Otherwise, there’s a selection of tap beers plus the kind of apertivo and digestivo you’d expect to see in a wine bar in Bologna or Venice, were it not for the smattering of Australian-made spirits – think Maidenii vermouth and Okar amaro.