Friday, August 8, 2014

Il Locale for Dinner

Il Locale

I was bored at home one afternoon when the mood for Italian food struck me hard. Marc and I weren't even planning on dining out that night but I researched and booked us a table within 30 minutes. When it comes to food and satisfying my cravings, I'm just that efficient. I came across Il Locale via my usual trusty online sources and the appealing online menu sealed the deal.

We arrived for dinner on a Thursday night just after 8pm. Il Locale is located in the little centre off Nash St in Rosalie that also contains Grill'd and Tomato Brothers. The restaurant itself is what I would call medium sized. We had a little table towards the back by the window, with a view into the open kitchen.

Marc spent a good few minutes perusing the wine menu and ended up selecting a half bottle. This is what we share on a school night, when I didn't really feel like drinking. You've got to have wine with Italian food and a glass is just not enough! Ours arrived in a snazzy decanter.

I got to choose everything we were eating that night so I selected one starter and a pizza and pasta to share.

House bread with oil

We were brought out some lovely warm sourdough with olive oil to start. I've been experimenting with making my own sourdough at home and as proud as I am of my own bread babies, sad to say this restaurant version was nicer.

Crocchette di baccala - salt cod and potato croquettes with aioli

The starter I chose was the salted cod croquettes. They arrived as 3 finger-sized portions with a golden, light crumbed coating. The interior was a soft, fish and potato mixture that I liked but Marc commented was "a lot like a fish finger". What I loved was the creamy aioli dipping sauce. I could seriously drink this stuff straight out of a jar, it's that good.

I got annoyed selecting pizza because even though Marc is quite accepting when it comes to food, he can't stand olives. I know we probably could have just requested any of the pizzas sans olives but I don't like to customise my orders when I go out to eat. Instead I searched through for one that had to satisfy our criteria of: 1) no olives, 2) must contain meat, and 3) not pork because the pasta contained boar.

Boscaiola - mushroom, gorgonzola, smoked pancetta and mozarella

Finally, I settled for the gorgonzolla topping. At first appearance, I was glad the pizza had a thin, crunchy base bit it looked otherwise unremarkable. I was blown away by the first bite because it was so delicious. The pizza manages to be incredibly juicy without any sogginess in the crust. The sauce they have on there is so flavoursome, it just draws the rest of the ingredients together. Blue cheese gave it some extra flare without being overpowering. What a yummy pizza!

Pappardelle al ragu di cinghiale in bianco - parppardelle with wild boar and white wine ragu

Our pasta was not to be upstaged. I chose the pappardelle (my favourite type of pasta) with wild boar ragu. Wild boar is a specialty in Umbria and I was disappointed we didn't get to try any when we were there. Now that I've tried it, I would say it's like a cross between pork and lamb; or a gamier pork. Again, the ragu was full of flavour and perfectly picked up by the thick pasta noodles. I was in heaven.

Budino di semolino al caramello e mostaco - caramel semolina pudding with moscato poached pears

I wasn't planning on ordering dessert but there are times when a restaurant impresses me so much with its food that I just want more. We stayed for one dessert to share and I chose the semolina pudding because it sounded the most unusual. It was creamier than I expected, a bit like a creme caramel but with a spongey texture. The pudding was warm but the accompanying poached pears were cold, which was strange to me. I liked the pudding and it did need the sweet, tangy fruit sauce to cut its richness but I found the sauce to be just too sweet for my liking.

Il locale was probably the best pizza and pasta I've had in Brisbane, and I know that's a big call. It was food that really brought Marc and I back to our travels through Italy and the food we had there. The restaurant has a nice environment to dine in; it's dimly lit but not in an annoyingly romantic way. We had a really nice waitress whose accent may or may not have been Italian (I'm terrible with accents).
Il Locale on Urbanspoon

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