Pane e Vino
A lot of people seem to carry the idea that there are no worthwhile pasta restaurants. The attitude is 'I can make it myself' or 'it's just all tomato-based sauces'. I can see how that might seem logical when you're basing judgment on those really non-pasta dishes that generic non-Italian restaurants serve (if you don't know what I'm talking about, just think 'jarred pasta sauce flavor'). This also applies to pizza restaurants that attempt pasta dishes and end up serving food that tastes frozen and microwaved.
I've experienced all these pasta failings yet I maintain that out there exists pasta served at a restaurant that will blow my mind. I imagine an Italian mama painstakingly rolling out fresh sheets of pasta and the kitchen to be bustling but clean and only the freshest ingredients used.
Until the day that myself and this hypothetical restaurant happily unite, I will resort to a number of restaurants that I mentally catalogue as 'passable'. Beccofino is good. Roman Empire makes a nice pasta and outside of Brisbane, Fratelli Paradiso was as close to blowing my mind as has happened to date.
With regards to Pane e Vino, it has a reasonable online reputation and I recall going there once before. On that occasion, 2 pasta dishes were ordered and one was Very Good and one was OK. I decided it was worth re-investigating.
Pane e Vino is located quite centrally, just a stroll down Albert St. There are a few outdoor tables and a split level interior. The menu is Italian-themed and has a host of salads, pizza, pasta, mains etc. Normal; what you expect.
We ordered coffees to start with, a latte for me and cappuccino for my friend Josh. I actually thought the coffee was outstanding. It was something that way exceeded expectations. I don't normally order coffee at a restaurant. Is this usual??
As for food, we kept it simple to one pasta dish each.
I chose the pork and fennel sausage rigatoni. It was a large serve. Nice flavors but a bit dry. I much prefer a saucier pasta. All the components were there and quite fresh/complimentary but it needed something to bind the lot together, as opposed to tasting like a pasta stir-fry. Does that make sense?
The beef ragu rigatoni was more flavorsome and the melty, shredded beef acted like a sauce and pulled together the dish in a way mine didn't. It's a simple, straight-forward pasta dish but tasty all the same.
Pane e Vino wasn't exceptional but the food is a reasonable pasta-fix, if you have the craving. The service wasn't totally friendly but they were quite efficient and the decor is quite nice.
On a completely different note, we got ice-cream after. Check out how huge my ice-cream is!