When in Rome (1889 Enoteca)...........
I have heard a lot of buzz about 1889 Enoteca but had always feared I may not be high brow enough to go to such a beautiful restaurant with a wine list longer than the Bible. I love wine, and lots of it but can only distinguish red from white, and good from great. But I decided to brave the brows and trot on in wearing some stilettos when my friend invited me to a special event with the owners. All my pig preconceptions flew out the window within minutes - I was expecting over the top glass wear and decor sterile enough to be a hospital, but 1889 Enoceta was the exact opposite. Cosy, earthy and reminiscent of a quaint Roman restaurant built before our time. The personality of this place is far from pretentious but a mecca for all those that love italian food and wine which begs the question, why have I not been here before?
Guests were treated to appretivo upon arrival, a traditional italian meal that pretty much translates to 'snacks to tie you over between lunch and dinner' - genius. The night got even better when we migrated down to the cellar which is adorned with all of Italy's best wines on an exposed brick back drop. The room is authentic, warm and a perfect place to share with your favourite pigs for any kind of celebration. Now to the food...........
1889 Entocea is not just italian food, but Roman food. The philosophy of the Romans I am told is to use only a couple of ingredients in each dish - always fresh, good quality and sourced locally wherever possible. It is no wonder the Romans ruled the world because their food is phenomenal so when in Rome, do as the Romans do! Here is the run down of the feast I was treated to:
- Red claw yabby, tomato, eggplant & caper salsa - sweet, fresh and tasty
- Potato gnocchi, pork & fennel sausage, black truffle tapenade - this is SPECIAL and it's no surprise its their signature dish, I am not ony saying that because of the inclusion of truffles, although they were spectacular
- Market fish, radicchio with caper, salsa verde - not usually a fish fan but this had me going back for seconds
- Roast pork, lemon and caper - so simple and so scrumptious
- Mixed leaves, green beans, roast potatoes, garlic, rosemary - all dressed and seasoned to perfection!
- Espresso soaked savoiardi, mascarpone & chocolate - none of my teeth are sweet but I devoured every last drop of this
- Vanilla panacotta, fig, biscotti - I didn't get a chance to taste it but judging by the "mmmm"ing from the people next to me, it must have been equally as delicious.
I can't tell you much about the wine because I am no expert but both the red and white fell in the "great" category and I fell in love with the sparking wine (2010 La Stoppa Malvasia, Emilia-Romagna, Italia), although that love affair ended in a head ache the next morning.
I was also lucky enough to meet the brains behind the operation, Dan Clark who was happy enough to not only share his restaurant, food and wine with me but answered a few of my questions.
- What is your food philosophy? Great ingredients, prepared simply
- Why Italian food and wine? I love the diversity and tradition in both the wine and food of the different regions of Italy
- Your favourite things about Italian food, wine and culture? I love that food and wine are an integral part of their everyday life. They have fun with it and that is what I really enjoy.
- What would be your death row meal be? Bucatini all’amatriciana followed by a tiramusi al bicchiere
- What is the most fun thing about feeding people? Watching people have fun. When the restaurant is loud you know everybody is having a good time
- 1889 Enoteca in three words? Real Roman food
- If 1889 Enoteca were a pasta what would it be and why? I think it would be the classic Roman dish spaghetti alla carbonara. Simple, delicious and unpretentious
- If you could feed one person in the world who would it be? The Pope.
- Red or white? Orange (white wine fermented on its skins)
- Pizza or pasta? Definitely pasta
So all you italian lovers do not fear the white-collar reputation of this little piece of Rome tucked away in Woollongabba. You are welcome whether you want a three course dinner with endless wine, a private function in the stunning cellar or just a beautiful bowl of gnocchi after work.
1889 Enoteca - 12 Logan Road, Woolloongabba QLD - www.1889enoteca.com.au