Tuesday, 8 July 2014

Casual Dining - Sugo Mi

I could not believe how much Oxford Street at Bulimba has changed.  It's quite staggering really, but then again, it has been around twelve years since I was a Bulimba local.  I remember when I lived just around the corner, off Riding Road, thinking that the sleepy little street had heaps of potential.  It's fair to say that Oxford Street is no longer that sleepy little strip that was crying out for more.....

Continuing my latest quest to seek out the best pizza joints in Brisbane, I was lured back over to my old stomping grounds with the promise of some amazing pizza.  A little Italian restaurant with a funky name had garnered a reputation for producing some of the best pizza this side of Naples.  Sugo Mi, which roughly translates into 'sauce me' was the object of my desire and it would have taken more than a freezing cold winter's Sunday evening to keep me away.

I'd called earlier in the day to make a reservation at Sugo Mi, but was given a very definitive 'no reservations' over the phone before the phone abruptly cut out.  Not sure if I'd experienced a soup nazi moment (Seinfeld fans get it, but for the rest see here).  Undeterred, I didn't bother to call back but made a mental note to get there early, just in case we'd miss out on a table (this has happened at Beccofino when arriving too late).

Bulimba is a short drive from the CBD but is even closer 'as-the-crow-flies' and if it wasn't for the lack of bridges across the river, we'd have made even better time.  As we drove down Hawthorn Road, a couple of thoughts struck me; it had been ages since we'd both been to that part of town and Hawthorne Road really needed to be resurfaced, it was a bumpy ride!  We weren't exactly sure where Sugo Mi was, but once we turned onto Oxford Street, it was lit up like a christmas tree and we had no trouble finding a park right behind the strip of shops.

Interestingly, as we walked to the restaurant to grab a seat, there was hardly anyone inside, with the early diners braving the cold weather outside under some heat lamps.  When we were given the option of sitting outside or in, we both agreed that inside was the sane option.  Our super friendly waitress (and I mean really, really friendly) handed over the menus and immediately threw a spanner in the works.  We were there for pizza but there was a special truffle menu available as well but the minute truffles were mentioned, SC's eyes had a little glint that told me she was sold.  I was only there for pizza, but all of a sudden, some other options looked too damn good to resist.

The first of which was the truffled mushroom soup with roasted walnut and fresh truffle.  I'm a big fan of mushroom soup, when it's done well, it's simply stunning and the only thing that makes it better is the inclusion of truffle.  My bowl of mushroom soup came delivered with a heap of toasted baguette, which would come in handy for dunking into the soup.  I was stoked to see that there were a heap of truffle shavings sitting atop my soup.  I dug in and was transported to my happy place, it was just sensational.  Creamy and earthy, the truffle and mushroom combined to pack a real flavour punch.  It was good as a soup, but when I dipped my toast in, the butter combined with the soup to send my tastebuds into overdrive.  It was that good!

While my starter was a big hit, SC's starter of bruschetta was a big miss.  Bruschetta is a pretty simple dish that comprises of roma tomatoes, red onion, basil and evo on a charred toast, but when you forget the red onion, it just becomes tomato on toast.  This is what happened with the entree and while it was good tomato on toast, it was not a bruschetta, which was a real shame.

The disappointment of her starter was soon forgotten as soon as SC's truffle main was presented.  The pappardelle with parmesan cream, fresh truffle and truffled egg was a complete triumph of Italian cooking. The simple ingredients combined with wonderfully cooked and al dente pasta and the generous shaving of fresh truffle to create a delicious dish that had it all.  The aroma told a story that was confirmed after the first bite, this was perfect dish.  I could write more about it but it would not do the dish justice, so I suggest you get on your bike and get down to order it while it's still on the menu.

While I quietly stifled my food envy watching SC crack into her pasta, my pizza arrived a few seconds later and diverted my attention to why I was really there, to eat pizza.  The Sugo Mi margharita pizza looked incredible, delivered on a wide bread board, it wasn't circular like most pizzas but more oval.  It was also large, very large.   The bright red sugo (sauce) was the right colour and the traditional tri colours of Italy were present with the lovely melted mozzarella cheese with the fresh basil leaves completing the picture.  There was a lot to like about the pizza with its beautiful appearance and wonderful flavour, it was the complete pizza.  If I was being a little critical, I would have preferred a slightly thinner and crispier base, but never-the-less, it was good pizza!

By the time we'd finished our mains, Sugo Mi had pretty much packed out inside and was not quite as busy outside, which was a complete reversal from when we'd first arrived.  I'm pretty sure it had dropped to a single digit temperature, so sanity had prevailed for most after all.

We found that it was a little noisy inside, with lots of sound bouncing around the little dining room but it did lend to a much greater vibe, although it became a little difficult to talk.  Throughout the night we had received amazing service and the thoughts of a soup nazi like experience had completely evaporated.

I'd heard that Sugo Mi had an amazing gelato bar out the back but given it was a super cold night, there was no chance of us testing it out for dessert.  We'd felt completely sated after a superb meal, with the bruschetta that was not bruschetta forgotten about and forgiven (this time).   I'd been super happy with my pizza and while it still didn't knock Beccofino off its perch as my personal favourite pizza in town, it was pretty close.


The mushroom and walnut soup with fresh truffle was superb
Lots of fresh truffle and a truffled egg - but you can never have too much truffle
The pizza was huge and had a wonderful taste of Italy
Well done to Sugo Mi 
The kitchen, where all the magic happened
A great little bar area for drinks 
It was cold out and even with heaters, eventually everyone went inside

Sugo Mi Bistro & Pizzeria on UrbanspoonSugo Mi Bistro Pizzeria

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