Take a good look at Il Locale’s antique Lebanese front doors because they are the inspiration behind this restaurant in Brisbane's thriving Nash Street, Rosalie dining precinct.
When Mark Tognini, who is not a man to do things by halves, found these doors the deal was sealed and Il Locale was just about born. Of course there were a few noisy months at Rosalie as the former Tomato Brothers restaurant was transformed with a totally new kitchen and a whole lot of Tognini’s style.
It's a slick fit out which reuses some existing furniture and adds tall tables with stools, a bright red and shiny Berkel meat slicer the Tognini's purchased many years ago in Verona and cabinet where the preserved meats hang to tantalise customers.
I particularly like the light shades which look like a collection of coloured bottles and the wine wall, of course.
The quality fit out flows through to the fine glass ware and cutlery that just feels good to hold. I dislike the feel of thin, cheap knives and forks - just give me something smooth and sleek to hold please.
It's another menu designed for sharing which seems to be standard nowadays, with plenty of spuntini to choose from. Think zucchini flowers stuffed with buffalo ricotta, salted cod and potato balls and char grilled quail with broad beans and lemon.
There's a complete section of eight salumi (sliced meats) to drool over with wagyu bresaola, mortadella and riserva prosciutto just a few.
With a wood fired oven pumping out pizzas it's hard to resist ordering one. Our choice came loaded with freshly shaved prosciutto, rocket, tomato and parmesan.
We followed it with steamed mussels with chilli and Sardinian pasta balls, truffle ricotta ravioli with sage burnt butter and tagliatelle with lamb ragu. All great dishes with great favours.
It was hard to say no to dessert so we didn't. A small, crisp shelled cannoli was the perfect finish.
My only gripe is the $3 per person charge for unlimited chilled, filtered still or sparkling water from the Italian carbonated water purifier. Yes the water tasted great and nicely cool which is not always the case when dining, but we barely had more than a glass full which made it expensive water. I will just ask for tap water next time.
Oh, and the restaurant is a bit on the noisy side.
I did like the carafe as well as by the glass option on the wine list which gives three standard drinks and perhaps the chance to sample another wine on the list.
Bottom line: Prices vary with anitpasto starting from $8, pizzas costing between $18 and $22 and mains sitting just under $30.
Best tip: Parking is very busy in Rosalie. Plan to dine early or after 8pm to avoid the crowds.
Il Locale, 21 Nash Street, Rosalie (Paddington), Brisbane.
Disclaimer: Ed+bK paid for this meal.