Paesano International Buffet Restaurant has everything that a food lover desires – from Italian to Asian to Indian to Greek – you name it, you have it. In an age when restaurants are struggling, this newly-opened restaurant in Princes Hwy, Springvale, has been put together by the efforts of four individuals from different ethnicities with invaluable investment and a passion to serve the community.
Paesano is a one-stop wonderland where you can disappear into the many counters. There is an array of seafood, teppanyaki, home-style Italian, sushi, wok-fried noodles, Indian curries and a delectable selection of freshly baked desserts and a giant chocolate fondue fountain. Behind these counters, passionate and experienced chefs work tirelessly amid the spice-scented air and lively ambience. These live stations give customers the pleasure of curating their own taste. So, if you want a vegetarian sushi, it is there for the asking.
It is not possible to think of Paesano without Frank Capuzzi, whose mother Nonna started learning how to make pasta from the age of five in Abruzzo, Italy. Nonna is at the helm of the Paesano kitchen and prepares her famous hand-made gnocchi, sauces and desserts daily, many of which are 19th-century recipes handed down through generations. These incredible home-style Italian dishes have built the foundations of Paesano’s reputation and popularity.
Frank Capuzzi and his partner Angelo LoMonaco have embodied Nonna’s pursuit of excellence by founding the Paesano Group and finding the most qualified staff to bring you the best buffet in Melbourne. Capuzzi moved from Adelaide to Melbourne in 1993 to work in many Italian food ventures before starting Paesano.
If the Italian section is one of many individualities and authenticities, the Indian fare is not far behind. Rina Vyas, who hails from Patan in Gujarat India, brightens up the Indian section with her eye for detail when it comes to delivering authentic Indian cuisine. She started cooking from the age of 15 and with her knowledge of spices, fresh herbs and flavoursome techniques, has been able to bring out the true colours of Gujarati and Indian delicacies for Melburnians. At Paesano, she adds value to Indian segment by ensuring Indian food matches high standards of quality and taste.
The Paesano International Buffet is an idea whose time had come. “Although our experience was in Italian, we had a lot of Indian and Chinese chefs, that’s how the concept started. Moreover, we found that a lot of buffets around were cheap and nasty and we wanted to bring good quality international buffets to the suburbs. We wanted to do something different with the live stations. What sets us apart is the freshness of the food, and we have six live stations that helps us keep our food fresh.”
With its theatrical live cooking stations catering to your taste by serving premium quality dishes, customers now have more control than ever over crafting their perfect meal. Besides the buffet, there is also an À la carte menu, where you choose each dish from a separate list instead of eating a fixed combination of dishes. “From the customers’ point of view, it is a good experience, and for us we have to really make sure that the food is good. It is not really that challenging, once you have every station doing their job,” says Capuzzi.
A great team makes a good restaurant and this is where Paesano’s very multicultural stakeholders come into the fore. It is a dream come true for them as no food venture has perhaps had this diversity and richness of experience on the table. Their multicultural backgrounds reflect the vision Paesano embodies in bringing different styles of preparation, cooking and eating to a city that is as diverse as can be.
“My passion lies in serving customers with different cuisines. The international buffet is also an excellent way of showcasing the value and quality of fresh food,” says Mahamudur Rashid, one of the main stakeholders adding, “This is my first investment in the hospitality sector and I am enjoying the ride. Our mission and vision is to improve and get feedback from people as to what they would like more and we urge them to come, enjoy this experience.”
Kunal Vyas, another investor and Co-Owner at ITCC, a leading digital agency in Melbourne, is excited over 100 plus food items that Paesano International Buffet is able to showcase under one roof. “The idea over the next few months is to have more people to enter doors and taste different cuisines here. With spacious environment, Paesano also offers an ideal setting for any type of event – be it corporate or social – from birthdays to anniversaries to weddings or corporate meetups. Plans are also underway to start Indian buffet nights and festival nights such as Diwali.” he says.
For Humayun Kabir, another investor, this is a business where his heart is. “I am excited, I see this going well. It is early days and in the beginning, you notice there are always things to rectify, but customers are our primary concern and we have to look after them with perfection and the best of hospitality.”
Paesano which translates into ‘neighbourhood friend’ in Italian already feels like one. The staff exude great energy and eager patrons are queuing up despite the place having come into business for just over a month now. The 300-dining seat is spread out in simple elegance and taste.
Interestingly, Paesano is a business that is also driven by philanthropy. The buffet which is priced at 50 dollars, gives away one dollar to support farmers through a program called Aussie Helpers.
So, if you are expecting a taste of good food, variety, ambience and culture, Paesano International Buffet is the place to be. It is not until you eat here that you realise what the city has been missing. An ideal choice for families and groups, there really is something for everyone!
Open Sunday to Monday from 10:30am to 10pm.
754-768 Princes Hwy, Springvale VIC 3171.