Sunday, 11 August 2013

Il Locale - Our Italian Table

Like a phoenix rising from the ashes, a new Italian dining option has risen from the site formerly owned by Tomato Brothers in Nash Street Rosalie.  Husband and wife team Mark and Narelle Tognini have finally put a long held dream into reality with the opening of Il Locale (the Local).  

Rosalie is one of the dining hotspots around Brisbane and is resplendent with cafes and restaurants but nothing quite like Il Locale.  The site has been transformed from the bright reds of the former Tomato Brothers site to sexy black, and a much more stylish fit-out.  The site has been designed by the team from DNA and care has been made to create a space that is at once welcoming and relaxing.  The style and design of the restaurant has centred around the antique front doors that were sourced from Lebanon and help transform the location.  A purpose built open fridge gives a hint of the delectable food on offer once you walk through the stunning wooden doors.

I was lucky enough to be invited along to the launch party during the week to celebrate the pending opening and mix with a couple of hundred of Mark and Narelle's loyal friends and some other local food bloggers to test out the menu.  The menu is influenced by the traditional dishes of northern Italy, with an emphasis placed on dishes that have been cooked utilizing the wood fired oven.  There will be meats slowly cooked and traditional style pizzas with only the freshest and refined ingredients sitting atop thin crisp bases.

There were plenty of tasty treats on offer from the kitchen for all that attended the opening party with a good cross-selection of the very extensive menu on offer.  With a room full of hungry guests all looking forward to sampling the menu, the friendly wait staff had their hands full delivering the samples around, but I managed to get my hands of a few of the menu items.  The standout for me was the meatballs in a rich tomato sauce and I kept going back for more of the perfectly moist pork and veal meatballs.  Surprisingly, I also loved the arancini con mozzarella e olive balls, which has incredibly soft rice surrounding chewy mozzarella that dripped once you took a bite.

Unsurprisingly though, the pizzas that came out of the beautiful wood fired oven were delicious, with perfectly crispy bases and interesting toppings.  Il Locale has both traditional pizza with a lovely tomato sauce as well and pizza bianca.  I'm always partial to margherita pizzas and was super happy when I got the chance to sample the simple cheese pizza.  Not only was the tomato sauce rich and tasty, but the pizza was well put together with just the right amount of oozy mozzarella cheese!

Another standout on the night was the risotto della valpolicella con vitello al vino rosso, or beef cheek risotto in red wine.  It's extremely hard to get risotto right in at the best of times, so I was simply amazed that the kitchen were able to produce so many risotto cups that were perfectly cooked and had such succulent beef cheeks.  

It was a fantastic night and great way to launch a restaurant from a couple who clearly have a vision and love food.  I was particularly glad to share the evening with Aga from A Matter of Taste, so we could mingle in the crowd and take lots of photos of food!  We were particularly touched by Marks speech that left everyone in attendance in no doubt that he was proud of this labour of love.

Il Locale opened on Friday the 9th of August and no doubt will become a favourite of those fortunate to live in the Inner West of Brisbane.  I am sure it will become a 'true local' dining spot for those nearby, but it should also be on the must do list if you love checking out amazing Italian fare.


**I was a guest of the Togninis for this event

The wood fired oven is put to good use to produce mouth watering pizza and slow cooked meats
A new, purpose built open fridge shows off the Italian meats on offer at Il Locale
This amazing  Berkel slicer purchased in Verona will feature in the pizza area - utilised daily it will provide fresh slices of cured meats both for pizza and chacutere style plates
The kitchen team hard at work pumping out food for the invited guests.  The Kitchen will be ably led by Brendon Hull
Mark talking to the party and sharing his wonderful story about Il Locale
Peeps enjoying themselves at the opening
Peeps enjoying themselves at the opening
A splash of colour for the sleek interior
The wines will be on display for all to see and enjoy
Those doors from Lebanon, which will be the doorway to a magnificent Italian Experience
Il Locale on Urbanspoon Il Locale

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