Popolo, South Bank

Multi-coloured lights twinkle across the vast expanse of glistening dark water while a parade of people saunter past.  It's Brisbane's newest chew with a view precinct, River Quay at South Bank and the locals are loving it.

I'm at South Bank's River Quay where the 'street' is lined with restaurants and the view is gold.

Casual Italian restaurant, Popolo, opened here just before Christmas and the past few months have been well spent by part owner Andrew Baturo and his culinary team, led by chef Doug McGarry, refining the food offerings and creating some mouth tingling combos.

Forget all your Italian menu preconceptions when you dine at Popolo. Here you'll find only one pasta on the menu and it's not going to be bolognaise. Instead you will discover treats that include roast suckling pig with anchovy sauce and peach compote or truffle buttered chicken.

The concept is share plates, but there's plenty of flexibility so a couple, or those with a smaller appetite, can still work their way through a few dishes.  Starter prices range from $6 to $29, pizzas are around $19, mains from $20 to $38.

Here's what we ate -

bocconcini sheet filled with mushrooms

tomato and tallegio risotto balls
pork and veal meatballs
baby chat potatoes, rosemary, garlic
Kingaroy suckling pig
free range chicken, truffle butter, roasted onions

When it came to dessert, I was wowed by the basil ice cream and strawberry canoli combo - what a mouth treat!
strawberry Canoli, sweet basil gelato, vin cotto + chocolate donuts rolled in orange sugar on pistachio crumble
fig and frangipane tart

With some walls a little blank, it's clear there's still a bit of decor tweaking in the pipeline with a wall of wine storage and a cosy couches planned for an enhanced bar area.  With cocktails such as x on offer, the temptation to kick back for a few hours will be enhanced.

Schedule Friday night dining at Popolo, or any of the restaurants in River Quay, and you'll enjoy a free xx concert  with a stunning river view backdrop.

Sunset is the other premium time to enjoy the strip with the visual delight of a glistening orange city skyline.

Sloe Scropino cocktail.

Bottom line: Italian with a twist. Recommended

Best tip:  You have to try the canoli with sweet basil gelato and vin cotto and order a Sloe Scropino cocktail.

Disclaimer:  Kerry dined as a guest of Popolo.

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