Sunday, 24 August 2014

Breakfast Series - Il Locale - my (not quite) local Italian

For a long long time, one of my favourite breakfast spots in Brisbane was just around the corner from my apartment in the CBD.  Bordering on the City / Valley fringe is a little shopping complex that amongst other things houses the Valley Woolworths as well as a little breakfast spot called Tognini's Trattoria (see post here).  Unfortunately, as was the case once I started blogging about food, I stopped going to my regular spots so often, mainly so I could get out and experience as many restaurants and cafes as possible.

I was petty excited to learn that another restaurant owned by the Togninis had started a breakfast service, so excited that I decided that I had to get across and check it out.  I'd been to Il Locale once before, and that was for the opening launch party (see post here) which had been pretty good, but I'd not been back since.  Located in my old stomping ground in the Rosalie Village (I used to live just around the corner), Il Locale took over from my all time favourite pizza spot - Tomato Brothers, which unfortunately doesn't exist any more.

We'd decided that a breakfast with our very good buddies, Thommo and DruBoy was well overdue and that catching up over a nice breakfast in Rosalie would be a fantastic idea.  Our breakfasts with Thommo and DruBoy have become more frequent in the last twelve months and DruBoy and I have been branching out without the girls lately too, so breakfast is our new thing!  It was a beautiful sunny Sunday morning when we made our way across to Rosalie and surprisingly found that the whole area was pretty much dead!  It was puzzling to us as we remember the area as being a bustling hive of activity on a Sunday morning.

Entering the restaurant, which had been extensively renovated after Tomato Brothers had vacated, we noticed that it was pretty quiet inside as well, with only one other table with diners waiting for their breakfast.  We had our pick of tables and decided to sit near the open window, so we could enjoy the brief respite from the very cold winter days to date.  We even had a little bit of sun shining onto our table to help keep things warm.  DruBoy and Thommo were not far behind and joined us a few seconds after our drinks had arrived.

As soon as they settled down and ordered their own dirnks, SC pulled out a little gift for Thommo, ostensibly a monkey butt (obviously attached to a monkey) in order to cheer Thommo up, who'd been a little sick recently.  The monkey ensured that there would be plenty of bad puns to endure for the duration of the breakfast, and he made his way into a few photos!  Our drinks on the morning consisted of very well made coffees, fresh juices and delicious smoothies (which came in jars).

It's normally a chaotic affair when the four of us get together and it took quite a while before we were ready to place our orders for breakfast, we were having just too much fun!  Eventually we were able to focus long enough to look over the menu, which was quite extensive and had a great range of contemporary and traditional options.

Decisions made, our breakfast arrived not too long after ordering and DruBoy's wood-fired granola with yoghurt panna cotta and strawberry coulis was first up.  It was quite an interesting looking dish, quite beautiful really and the idea of sticking a panna cotta in with a granola was actually as stroke of genius. You could really get the wood-fired flavour from the granola, it just had a smokier and deeper taste than your average granola.  The panna cotta was very sweet and worked really well with the smokey granola but after a while became perhaps a little too sweet.  We figured out that the strawberry coulis added to the sweetness and that a raspberry coulis would have added just a little tartness to the dish and enhanced it significantly.  DruBoy did love his breakfast and that was a very minor criticism.

The girls both ordered the same delicious looking breakfast special of buckwheat pancakes with vanilla bean mascarpone, stewed bananas, fresh strawberries and a dusting of icing sugar.  With the pancakes and bananas having a similar colour, the plate itself looked a little beige but it was saved with the bright red strawberries and the stark white of the cream and icing sugar.  The flavour was anything but beige, with the buckwheat pancakes having a unique and earthy flavour, which was enhanced by the sweet stewed bananas.  You'd have thought that the whole dish would have been too sweet, but it wasn't, mainly due to the well balanced buckwheat pancakes.

One of the reasons that I'd always loved Tognini's for breakfast was because of their continued use of the best quality chorizo around, and the fact that they always had chorizo on the menu (mmm, love chorizo).  Il Locale had continued on with the tradition and had chorizo on the menu, so it was unsurprising that it was included in my big mash up of breakfast, which included scrambled eggs, sautéed mushrooms, grilled tomato, bacon and toasted sour dough.  The chorizo was a real highlight and was consumed in double time before anything else got a look in.  I also really enjoyed the sautéed mushrooms, which were perfectly seasoned and very tasty.  Everything else was good too, but they were not the highlights and for me, my bacon was a bit under cooked - I really like it when it's hits that point when its juuuust about to become crispy.

We'd had a terrific time over breakfast, it's always a hoot catching up with DruBoy and Thommo.  We all really enjoyed our breakfast and agreed that it was one of the better options around town, we also wondered why it was so quiet!  I guess the main reason is knowledge.....  Not so many people know that Il Locale is open for breakfast, and to be fair, it's only recently started breakfast service Friday through to Sunday.

While we didn't go super creative with our breakfast choices (well, DruBoy did OK), there were some really interesting looking options, such as the coconut and lime rice pudding with pistachio, dried cranberries and vincotto; the pan fried sardines with confit cherry tomatoes, green chilli and lime aioli with  soft poached eggs and the saffron white beans with house made pork and fennel sausage, poached eggs and pangrattato.  Definitely plenty of options for those who are a little more adventourous than us!

It stayed quiet for most of the morning that we were there, but we did see half a dozen groups come in over the couple of hours that we enjoyed each others company.  It's quite a large space that wraps around a cool open pizza oven and the kitchen, which is mostly hidden.  There is plenty of space outside, but on a cool, but sunny Sunday morning, it was perfect inside with the sun beating through the open windows.  

We really loved the breakfast and now that we know it's there, I am sure it well get onto our breakfast rotation for future visits.  Check it out!

My big breakfast mash up had plenty of great chorizo - its enough to make me happy!
All of the coffees were well extracted and delicious - you'd expect nothing less from a Tognini run establishment
The smoothies and juices were delicious too - the mason jars seem out of place though!
There is a butt on that monkey!
We did see some other diners out for breakfast 
The kitchen is kind of hidden but if you're in the right seat, you can see all 
The windows open up and let lots of sunlight in - it was a beautiful morning 
Cakes and more cakes
I've seen a few of these beautiful old slicers around town  
These incredible doors are from Lebanon and add an authentic middle eastern feel to the restaurant

Il Locale on UrbanspoonIl Locale


  1. The yoghurt panna cotta with the granola is inspired - how has no one thought of this before? I know you said it was too sweet but I'd give it a go anyway!

    1. Rachel, it is definitely a stroke of genius, right? It sure is worth getting though!!


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