Saturday, 6 December 2014

Julius Pizzeria- the boys from Beccofino on the south side

I can't tell you how excited I was when I heard that the boys from Beccofino were opening up a new restaurant over in South Brisbane. Whenever anyone asks me what my favourite Italian restaurant is, Beccofino regularly sits as one of the top three (see post here - the others being Tartufo here and 1889 enoteca here). There was never any doubt that I'd be over checking out their new venture, Julius, the first opportunity, which as it turns out, was last weekend.

We weren't 100% sure where Julius had opened up, but once we confirmed the address, knew that it was underneath the monster new residential development at the corner of Grey Street and Fish Lane. When visiting Beccofino at Teneriffe, we sometimes walk, but often drive as it's just a little too far away from the CBD to make it a quick trip.  Luckily, Julius is well within walking distance of the CBD, so we were able to walk over in about twenty minutes.

It was the first time we'd checked out the new development and the Aria group, who'd constructed the building, had used the facade of the old building that was on the site.  Even better, they'd taken the facade to it's original brick, which helped give a surprisingly modern look to the base of the building, which also houses the new Julius restaurant.  As we walked closer to the building, we were impressed with the look and feel, especially the Fish Lane side of the building, which is really enhancing Fish Lane as a go-to spot on the South Side.

We didn't bother with a reservation, mainly because, like Beccofino, there was a no reservation policy! Not wanting to miss out, we'd walked over nice and early and easily secured a great seat in the main dining area, with views of the street and the big new wood fired pizza oven, which they'd even named Julius.  Inside, the restaurant was just as funky as the exterior, with loads of exposed brick - including a cool looking brick arch, that separated the two main dining areas.  Unlike Becconino, the kitchen area was exposed, so you could watch the chefs in action.

We were given a couple of menus to look over, which were folded sheets of brown paper that opened up like a map.  It was clear that Julius was a sister restaurant to Beccofino, there were vast similarities between the menus, including the pizza and pasta sections.  We even noticed that they'd kept  the Pappardelle al Ragu d’Anatra - Flat ribbon pasta with a duck and tomato ragu, which has regularly been voted as one of Brisbane's most iconic dishes!  There were a couple of differences though and we were keen to check out some of the new, as well as some of the old.

Once we'd placed our orders, it wasn't long before our waitress brought us over some fresh, warm, crusty bread with some olive oil for dipping.  While this happens over at Beccofino as well, instead of the steel mixing bowl, we were given a warm looking fabric bowl that was more fitting with the surrounding.

We kicked off our meal with the Capesante in Padella - Pan seared scallops with pea purée and grated bottarga to share.  The dish was quite rustic looking with a pile of pea puree and three decent sized and perfectly cooked scallops sitting like islands in a sea of green.  The pea puree was delicious, nice and sweet with a slightly lumpy texture that confirmed that the puree hadn't been over worked.  The caramelisation on the scallops provided a little extra sweetness and once a squeeze of lemon was added to balance the dish, it was the perfect light starter to a meal.

Our main reason for visiting Julius though was the pizza and SC went for one of her favourite, the Salame e Fontina - Tomato, mozzarella, salami, chilli & fontina cheese.  We've always rated the pizza at beccofino as the best in Brisbane (with a few other joints at least matching) and the hope was that Julius would at least match its sister restaurant.  Mission accomplished, the pizza delivered looked the goods and after the first bite, we'd confirmed that the pizza was top shelf! There was a little bit of heat that built over the course of the pizza from the salami and just the right amount of chilli with the fontina cheese helping to smooth the heat around the edges.  Yeah, good pizza.

I'd gone for the ever reliable margherita, but I'd added extra cheese.  The pizza looked amazing, with the tri-colours that signify the perfect pizza all present.  I'm not gonna pull any punches here, the pizza was superb, with an incredibly thin base that went a little soggy (from my extra cheese), a sweet tomato sauce that danced on the palate like a ballerina and the sweet creamy mozzarella cheese, I was in pizza heaven.  It was as good as Beccofino (unsurprisingly) and equal to any pizza you're gonna get anywhere.....  You must get in to Julius and eat the margherita.

We didn't stick around for dessert, we were pretty stuffed from the starter and eating a pizza each, and really, we just didn't think anything could top the delicious pizzas we'd just had (although, we did change our mind on the walk home).

It was pretty quiet when we first arrived at Julius but people kept coming for the entire time we were dining, but it never quite filled all the way up.  Given that the place had only just opened, this was not too surprising, although the more established Beccofino would have been jam packed by that time. We also noticed a very different demographic over at Julius... Where Beccofino has lots of families with young kids, Julius had attracted a more hip crowd (not hipsters, there were no beards about). 

I am pretty confident that Julius is going to rapidly become one of Brisbane's must visit 'hot-spots'. It's a very cool looking restaurant and it has food that is superb.  It's also in a very different part of town from its sibling, so there is little chance of cannibalisation of regulars (although, we will probably only frequent Julius now due to its close proximity to home).  The only issue is that it's opened so close to our move overseas!  I wish the place had opened two years ago - oh well, can't help timing.

Open kitchen and an oven named Julius
The scallop dish looked rustic and was delicious
Pizza doesn't get any better than this
And its in South Brisbane, so it needs a bar!
Fish Lane is rapidly becoming a dining location and Julius will help

Julius Pizzeria on UrbanspoonJulius Pizzeria

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