Not being able to eat gluten, dairy or soy means that I don't get to eat Italian food very much (or at all) any more. I hear about these wonderful Italian restaurants but generally Italian is a cuisine that we avoid. I don't often cook it at home either. Despite being a huge pasta lover, so many of the commercially available gluten free pastas contain soy or end up tasting floury and pasty without the necessary al dente texture. I do realise that there is so much more to Italian food than pasta, but that's where my mind does tend to go.
BUT!! Late last year I heard that fantastic foursome behind Red Hill's Colle Rosso had opened a new Italian bistro in Hamilton and I was invited to come and check out their new menu. I wrote back to say thank you but no thank you and explained my intolerances. I was very excited when they wrote back and said "no problem - we'll cater to you!!".
So, D and I were off to L'angolo Bistro. Owner Lisa Del Vicchio said that they were trying to recreate the modern Italian bistros popular today in Italy, aperitif style versus the rustic style of Colle Rosso.
The first entree was a huge revelation to me.
My first course: Sardines marinated in Chardonnay vinegar with a tomato sauce
I had never had sardines before, whether they be tinned or otherwise. These were phenomenal. They were delicately marinated and absolutely melted in your mouth. D doesn't eat seafood so he didn't eat his, if it wasn't coated in breadcrumbs it would have been mine!
Second course: Polpette della Nonna
Meatballs! Rich Napoli Sauce! Yum!! The gluten free bread was toasted and lightly dressed with olive oil. The fully flavoured tomato sauce and meaty meatballs went so well with gluten free bread which toasts to a crispy, almost crispbread texture. The rest of the table was served their meatballs in giant bowls to be served family style but I got a lovely little dish to myself. I knew we had a lot of food still to try but I couldn't resist eating the whole thing.
The rest of the table were also treated to deep fried baby calamari served with basil pesto mayonnaise and lime before it was time for pizza.
Mine was Pizza Pescatora.
Gluten free base, tomato, prawns, squid, scallops, clams, cocktail sauce
The gluten free base was crispy and light with the tastiest tomato sauce I've ever had. The cocktail sauce went so well with the tomato sauce and the seafood was so fresh. I could only eat two pieces and it just about broke my heart when they took it away from the table. I would have taken that home, guys!!
Our first main course was Risotto con Gamberetti, asparagus e bisque di aragosta (risotto with prawns and asparagus in a lobster bisque). The prehistoric plate decoration threatened to outshine the delicate risotto until you tasted it. It was so creamy I had to check the risotto was dairy free. Lisa told me the lobster bisque adds the creaminess.
Homemade rice flour pasta with marinated quail, pancetta and Sardinian Mirto
The house-made pasta was delicious, it had just the texture I remember from gluten-filled pasta. I loved the slight hint of the Mirto, which is a Sardinian digestif like limoncello. Unfortunately, but this stage I was getting quite full otherwise I'd have polished it off the whole plate. I love pasta.
Final savoury course: crispy skin pork belly served with truffle mashed potatoes and mushroom sauce
I love pork belly, especially pork with crispy skin. This pork belly had a hint of citrus and the red wine mushroom sauce was lovely and sweet. It was a substantial serving too - a huge piece of pork belly!
To finish up we were treated to a tasting plate of a selection of desserts. My plate had an Italian dark chocolate and almond torte served with strawberry sorbet, a chocolate chip cookie and two truffles - Italian dark chocolate filled with pistachios and walnuts.
I'm a huge chocolate love and the torte was definitely my favourite of the three, but the texture of the cookie was fantastic - I need to have another one!
The entire night was a huge testament to chefs (and co-owners) David Ruggiero and Marco Mureddu. I can't thank them enough for their care and attention to detail to my dietary needs, which was of a calibre I've so far received from only one other restaurant in Brisbane. Lisa was a fantastic host and all four are completely dedicated to bringing us authentic Italian food. We had a wonderful time and we can't wait to go back.
A meal without wine is like a day without sunshine
485 Kingsford Smith Drive
Ph 07 3630 2662
D and I visited as a guest of P4 Media and L'angolo Bistro.