I'll be honest, the last time I ate at Pane e Vino was I was 18 and probably had "the Rachel" haircut. I'd had one Guinness too many at Gilhooley's Irish Pub next door, so needed some carbs stat. Luckily, Pane e Vino has a policy of staying open based on demand, and I remember being very grateful of the bowl of fresh pasta that was placed in front of me at some strange hour.
Pane e Vino is a family business, and that shows with all of the thought, care and attention that goes into both the food side of things, and the people side of things. Brothers Tony and Gino started Pane e Vino with their Italian migrant parents all those years ago, and the guys' love of the restaurant is still as strong as ever today. Chatting to them, you quickly get a sense of their passion for quality ingredients and bringing traditional Italian dishes to the heart of Brisbane.
One such traditional dish is their:
- Polenta A Tavola- Creamy Polenta, Italian Pork and Fennel Sausage, Chilli, Napoli Sugo, and Grano Padano.
It's so traditional it has its own story board, displayed proudly behind the bar.
I am not a fan of polenta usually, but that's because I've obviously not had it classic Italian-style. This dish looks rustic, and tastes seriously, seriously amazing. From someone who doesn't rate polenta, this is high praise.
The pork and fennel sausage and sharp cheese really make the polenta interesting and moreish. It's served a traditional share meal, with everyone digging in to scoop up as much tastiness as they can on their fork. I actually loved the idea of fighting for your mouthful of food- it was fun! Though the serving was so generous it was easy for everyone to be a winner.
- Goats Cheese Ravioli - Lightly Crumbed with Fresh Rocket, Beetroot Aioli, Pinnoli with EVOO
- Black Mussels and Cloudy Bay Clams- with Chilli, Garlic, White Wine and Napoli Sugo with Lemon and Bread
- Vegetale - Marinated Green Tomato, Pickled Eggplant, Semi Dried Tomato, Artichoke Hearts, Marinated Mushrooms
My pick out of these three delightful dishes was hands down the goats cheese ravioli. The cheese was creamy and earthy and oozed out of the crispy fried ravioli. The bright beetroot just made this a really fun dish and sparked a lot of conversation, which food should do!
The mussels and clams brought a little bit of the ocean to the table and the marinated vegetables nicely offset the crispy bread.
- Gnocchi Alla Gorgonzola– Gorgonzola, Leek, Cream, Rocket, Crispy Proscuitto
- Spaghetti Alla Boscaiola– Bacon, Mushroom, Shallots, Rosette Sugo
- Linguine Alla Marinara– Prawns, Calamari, Mussels, Cloudy Bay Clams, Chilli, Garlic, Napoli Sugo, Lemon
If I raved about the polenta, I'm going to rave about the gnocchi. Order it. It is rich and divine. The crispy proscuitto really added to the creamy texture of this dish, and the rocket lifted the richness of the gorgonzola.
The boscaiola sauce was really lovely and tasty with the bacon adding a slight smoky taste. This is usually served with gnocchi on the new menu, which would go down a treat.
Lastly the marinara is apparently Pane e Vino's most photographed dish and it's easy to see why- it's just so pretty! Luckily all of that fresh seafood makes it pretty tasty too and I loved the healthy amounts of garlic through the sauce. Both the linguine and spaghetti pasta themselves were cooked beautifully al dente.
- Confit Lamb– Shoulder Lamb, Eggplant Puree, Braised Lentils, Cucumber, Mint, Yoghurt Salad
- Heirloom Tomatoes & Basil Salad with EVOO
- Rocket & Parmesan Salad with cracked pepper
The lamb was so tender it fell apart as soon as my fork was anywhere in its little vicinity. It's confit with extra virgin olive oil, then slow cooked, then molded into tasty triangles and oven seared for a crispy outside and a melt-in-your-mouth inside. It's just inspired and served with the eggplant puree, makes for a lovely earthy dish.
- Vanilla Bean Panna Cotta with Raspberry Coulis
- Nonna's Tiramisu
- Ssegafredo Espresso & Pallini Lemoncello
I was hanging out for nonna's tiramisu and I wasn't disappointed. This family recipe has some lovely little touches, such as a completely soaked bottom biscuit base, but only a lightly dipped top biscuit. The cream and mascarpone layers differed as well, meaning that each forkful you took was uniquely delicious.
The panna cotta was firm and was generously full of vanilla bean. It worked well with the slightly tart coulis.
- Habitat can be found at the corner of Albert St and Charlotte St, Brisbane 4000
- Open 7 days for breakfast, lunch and dinner: 6:30am – late
- Dinner mains range from $19.50 – $33
Tanya dinned as a guest of Pane e Vino and KDPR.