I’m a regular here and this is easily one of my favourite lunch spots around work. Every time I walk in I’m greeted with a, “Ciao bella” and if I’m lucky enough I will get a kiss on the cheek, breathing an Italian charm into the place. Even if I’m walking along the street and they spot me, it is still ciao bella time.
Serving up outstanding dishes with quality ingredients, everything is reasonable priced and well-portioned. I would go so much as to say that they serve the best Italian in the CBD. It is best to book or come in just at 12 to beat the lunch rush. Otherwise, get your food to go and they’ll knock off a couple of dollars. Somewhere between the $2-$4 dollar mark.
The lunch menu is organised by antipasto, panini, salads and pastas, where you can order your choice of pasta and sauce. The menu is waited on by super charged energizer bunny staff who hop, skin and leap around you efficiently. Their full-of-life personalities are so infectious that it can’t help but always seem to brighten up my day.
More often than not, I will order the linguine boscaiola ($16.50). It is the ultimate, served with pancetta, mushrooms, caramelised onions in a cream sauce. The use of pancetta and caramelised onion add another dimension to this favourite. The pancetta creates a lovely smokiness and chewiness while the caramelised onions carries a sweetness into this savoury dish.
The side of parmesan is served in a generous bowl, so you can sprinkle as much or as little as you like. Most places tend to serve you pittance and I think this tiny detail makes such a difference to the experience and taste of your meal, especially when the parmesan is of such a high quality.
Garlic bread ($5.50) is beautifully fragrant and crusty, it is the perfect contraption for dipping, especially into somebody else’s plate!
Linguine with peas, pancetta, garlic, chilli & truss tomatoes ($16.50) is not for the faint hearted. It packs a bit of a kick and is full of flavour with the chilli and garlic. Again, the sauce takes on a delicious smokiness with the use of pancetta. This is so stunning, it’s hard to think I am on my lunch break. Shouldn’t I be at a food court somewhere?