Have you seen that video where the pasta gets stirred in a huge wheel of melting Parmesan cheese? Almost 4 million people have salivated over that delicious sight after it was posted on INSIDER’s Facebook page. It turns out this unique dish, that has captivated so many hungry people, is made right here in Adelaide, at our very own modern Italian restaurant, Godi La Vita.
I have to confess that it was not the cheese wheel video that had me so keen to meet with Laurie and Federico Godi and learn more about their restaurant, but the amazing spread they put on for Adelaide PR company, Girl About Town’s re-branding event. That evening, scrolling through Instagram, I was unable to escape the images of mouthwatering appetisers and I couldn’t resist reaching out to see if they would allow me to come in and meet with them. Thankfully Laurie was able to find time in her busy week and invited my photographer partner and I to come in, have a chat, take some pictures, and watch Federico do what he does best: feed people.
Godi La Vita, which as well as sharing the surname of the owners, translates to ‘enjoy life’, is certainly a mantra that Laurie and Federico believe in, although owning a restaurant was the last thing on Federico’s mind as he was growing up in Florence. Born into a textile and construction empire, Federico spent his childhood eating meals created by chefs his family employed. There was a range of cuisines coming to the dinner table during those years, French, Singaporean and of course traditional Italian. Although his path was headed toward joining the family business, this first taste of the joy that food can bring people certainly planted a seed in the back of his mind.
Meanwhile, on the other side of the world, Laurie was beginning a successful modelling career. Laurie travelled and worked in Europe, before she settled in Hong Kong where she worked in promotions and design, and even launched her own line of handbags. It was during her twelve years in Hong Kong, while attending a textile conference, that she met Federico.
Fast forward to 2008, Federico, Laurie and their two sons were spending three months in Adelaide visiting with Laurie’s family, and the boys, Matteo and Thomas, were having the time of their lives, loving the laid back lifestyle of Australia. When it came time to think about returning to Italy, their sons begged them to stay in Australia. After Federico returned home to pick up the family cat, the Godi’s began a new chapter of their lives in Adelaide.
With a love for cooking and that European trait of wanting to continuously feed people, Federico found a new audience in his son’s friends. Not only did they keep appearing at the dinner table each night, but he started preparing extra lunches to send along to school to satiate the growing appetites for his Italian inspired creations. Wanting to make his passion for food official, Federico completed a cookery course at Tafe and also undertook a Food Science degree. While studying at Tafe, Federico developed a way of freeze-drying the starter required to make sourdough bread, a process that had never been used in Australia, and was awarded for his innovation. After years of study and honing his skills, Federico’s hard work paid off in April 2016 when Godi La Vita opened its doors.
Godi La Vita is situated at the far end of King William Road, next to the well known Extra Newsagency, in a space that was left vacant when cafe and gift shop, Saffron Sky, closed in May of 2014. With a background in fabric design, Laurie relished the opportunity to completely renovate the premises and create a custom atmosphere for the modern Italian eatery. Everything in the restaurant was handpicked by Laurie, from the rose gold tinted salt and pepper shakers, to the mismatched chairs and wall of glass bell-jar light fittings. Even during the wet, windy, wintry weather, Godi La Vita beckons you inside with its warming ambiance.
Aside from the famous cheese wheel pasta, Godi La Vita’s three menus (breakfast, lunch and dinner) will satisfy all your Italian cravings. From the UOVA AL POMODORO – a breakfast of baked eggs in pomodoro salsa, cannelini beans, italian sausage, sour cream with italian ciabatta, to my personal favourite, SPAGHETTI AL GRANCHIO, spaghetti with blue swimmer crab, garlic, fresh tomato, brandy, cream and chilli, Federico has something for all tastes. Desert lovers are especially well catered for with Italian classics such as Panna Cotta and Tiramisu, and the best selling Cherry and Date Cake. The real draw card though, is the ever changing specials board which allows Federico to really flex his culinary muscle and serve up something a little bit ‘outside the box’ each week. This week’s offering included squid ink pasta and chocolate ravioli with a pumpkin filling, but had changed by the time we went back for dinner on Friday night. Rest assured that each dish has passed the stringent quality control of Federico’s harshest critics, his sons.
Sitting proudly on the bar is a selection of wines commissioned by the Godis from South Australian wine company, Wine Resources International. Along with another proudly South Australian brand, Rio Coffee, Godi La Vita partners with as many local producers as possible and Laurie often finds herself at the Adelaide Central Market where she picks up some of the freshest in-season fruits and veggies to be used in the kitchen.
By this stage of our conversation Federico has generously whipped up a number of dishes for us to photograph and then sample. Laurie is impressed with the Zucchini Pancake which she has never tired before, and we all agree that the chocolate filled Bombolone is to die for. Laurie is used to Federico’s generous nature. She tells me that in the early days of his cookery course, he would make huge pots of soup for the homeless shelter on Hutt Street. He is especially generous with his time, putting in around 110 hours each week to Godi La Vita, making his own pasta, sauces, broth and cheeses, from scratch.
The future is bright for Laurie and Federico. There are plans in place for a range of Italian ice creams when the weather starts to warm up in Australia, and Federico is hoping to sell some of his pasta and sauces as take home products. Laurie also cryptically says that there is something coming that will be bigger than the cheese wheel! Even after only three months of business, Godi La Vita have set their standards high and are committed to upholding their values of providing innovative modern Italian cuisine, made from the freshest local produce, in a space where everyone feels welcome.
Laurie and Federico Godi would love to see you at Godi La Vita, 162b King William Road, Hyde Park. Tues-Sun 9am til late. Make sure you book for evening meals: 08 8377 7844 or email@example.com. Check out the website for menus and more information and give Godi La Vita a follow on Facebook and Instagram.
I also wrote a review, and uploaded some more photos, of our dining experience when we returned for dinner last Friday night. Read my review.