Meet Martin Postregna of Cattivo in Camberwell
Article posted: August 30, 2016
When Martin Postregna got up to mischief as a child, his mother would reprimand him and say, “cattivo”, which is Italian for naughty.
It may not have seemed like it at the time, but the word stuck, indelibly.
Many moons later, Mr Postregna decided to call his Italian cafe in Camberwell Cattivo, in a poignant tribute to his late mother.
“The name stuck with me and it felt good to name it Cattivo,” he said.
“I was always in the kitchen with mum and she always used to show me different things.
“That’s why I got into cooking.”
This October, it will be 10 years since Mr Postregna founded Cattivo.
He had worked as a chef prior to opening the business in Camberwell and he and his wife wanted to start a family, which was why they decided on a day-time Italian cafe.
“There was really nothing around at that time and we just thought Camberwell was a good area, especially around the junction because it was quite lively,” Mr Postregna said.
Cattivo offers breakfast and lunch, with plenty of delicious options on display for customers to choose from.
All of the cakes and sweets are baked fresh on-site, including mouth-watering Italian donuts filled with homemade jam, lemon curd and Nutella.
Lunch includes a range of gluten-free and healthy options, such as freshly made salads using seasonal ingredients.
Patrons can dine-in or take-away.
Cattivo’s recipe for success has been to keep things simple, including the décor.
The cafe features a minimalist theme with polished concrete floors, crisp white walls and unpretentious, no-nonsense furniture.
It accommodates 40 to 45 people, and there is outdoor seating available.
“I think it works because it doesn’t date,” Mr Postregna said.
Cattivo’s main clients are office workers who stroll in Monday to Friday for a coffee and light lunch, or a cheeky afternoon scone loaded with jam and cream.
Cattivo also offers night-time functions, often for local businesses hosting an event.
“We believe if you look after your local clientele, that’s the best way to go in terms of running a business,” Mr Postregna said.
“I think it’s the service, number one, that keeps people coming back, but there’s always good coffee and consistently good food using seasonal and fresh produce.
“We keep it simple because as soon as you complicate things, the standards can drop.”
A New Chapter
Cattivo is entering a new era under new ownership, but Mr Postregna said customers could rest assured that nothing drastic would change.
Mr Postregna has spent several months making sure things run smoothly during the transition period, but said it would soon be time for him to begin the next chapter.
“They’re (the new owners) willing to keep it the same,” he said.
“My goal was to be here five years but I’ve ended up being here 10 because I’ve enjoyed it so much.
“It’s got to that point though where I’m looking at my next project, but Cattivo will still be here.”
Visit the cafe
255 Camberwell Rd, Camberwell
Phone: (03) 9882 8878