Introducing Elementi – Paddington’s personable newcomer serving pizza, pasta and primo wine
When we heard that three hospitality veterans with combined experience working at the likes of Beccofino, Julius Pizzeria and Maeve Wine were teaming up for a new venture, you bet we sat up and took notice. That’s right, the team behind Paddington newcomer Elementi boasts some serious chops, but what the crew is doing with its impressive skillset is what makes this Given Terrace arrival a must-try destination. Elementi opened for takeaway last week, offering a taster of the team’s vision for Italian fare that’s elevated via some multicultural twists, engaging experimental quirks and a hearty dose of personality.
Elementi, as its direct Italian-to-English translation intimates, is a combination of elements. It is the product of the combined talents of its owners – ex-Julius Pizzeria sous chef Pedro Sanson, ex-Beccofino pizza chef Stefano Spataro and Mauricio Zarate, who has worked at Beccofino and Maeve Wine. Before coming together to form Elementi, Mauricio and Stefano were each looking to carve a fresh path and indulge their wildest creative notions. Fate eventually brought the two together, and after discussing their shared ideas and passions the duo elected to join forces. Soon they reached out to Pedro, and over a beer or two convinced him to team up with the others on a restaurant-meets-wine-bar concept that explored Italian cuisine through personal and multicultural lenses. With their respective talents covering kitchen, pizza oven and front of house, Pedro, Stefano and Mauricio already had a firm grasp on Elementi’s core culinary components. As luck would have it, finding a space that could accommodate all three domains wasn’t as big a headache as one would expect. A tip-off alerted the trio to an ideal site on Given Terrace (the former home of Arrosto), which came already equipped with a woodfired pizza oven, kitchen and plenty of room to install a bar. A whirlwind refurbishment saw the interior given life once more, with a newly built pizza-prep bench and bar, new light fixtures, refreshed furniture and decor, and the application of an earthy colour scheme (enhanced by a feature wall of exposed brick) setting the stage for Elementi’s triple act show.
At its core, Elementi’s menu traverses the width and breadth of traditional Italian cuisine. The restaurant’s singular quirks, twists and talking points are a product of Pedro, Stefano and Mauricio’s tastes, which shape the cuisine’s core elements to express them in dynamic ways. Here they’re drawing upon Italy’s diverse regionality and their own cultures to inform Elementi’s hero dishes, which are familiar enough to entice yet different enough to be memorable. Each member is a master of their respective domains. In the kitchen, Pedro weaves threads of his Brazilian heritage through the rich tapestry of Italian fare – think fish carpaccio with peppers and deconstructed cannoli with dulce de leche. As the restaurant is currently operating in a takeaway-only capacity until the liquor licence is approved, the full scope of Pedro’s vision is yet to be revealed. That being said, available starters such as fontina, pea and saffron arancini, and olive ascolana (fried meat-stuffed olives with truffle and sherry vinegar aioli), plus dishes like corta alla norcina (orecchiette, pork sausage, truffle paste and Grana Padao), lunga ai gamberi (linguine with tiger prawns, chilli, garlic, sugo and bottarga) and panzanella (bread, tomatoes, olives, red onion, herbs and sherry vinegar dressing) make for a robust prelude. Stefano’s array of pizzas – lovingly crafted using a delicate flour mixture, a dash of eight-year-old mother yeast and a mixture of Italian and Australian ingredients – are light, yet boast a depth of flavour. Currently Stefano is slinging 12 kinds of pizza – rossa, bianca and sfizio (translated to whim or fancy) – in and out of the ironbark-fuelled woodfired oven. Of particular note are the sfizio varieties, which include a mozzarella, ricotta, spinach, ham and parmiagiano-filled calzone, pannotto caprese (a pizza panini filled with sliced tomato, truffle stracciatella cheese and basil) and, perhaps, Elementi’s signature – the baciata. This dish (unseen before in Brisbane) features two focaccia-style bases cooked on top of each other, which are then split and stuffed with buffalo mozzarella, mortadella, pistachio and lemon juice. Think of it as a large pizza sandwich (and try to contain your drooling). The menu will rotate seasonally, with specials showcasing some of Pedro and Stefano’s inspired creations (we’re talking vegetable-infused pizza doughs – available in limited quantities) while a chef’s menu will take diners on a journey through the menu’s bona fide highlights.
Mauricio is overseeing Elementi’s wine list, and is applying a free-flowing, no-boundaries approach to his curatorial method. Although fond of the classic expressions, Mauricio will be looking to steer clear of these options, preferring to gently push guests outside of their comfort zone with bold, alternative and enticing drops that sit slightly adjacent from the familiar. Casting a wide net, Mauricio is liaising with producers and suppliers to source drops (roughly 15 or so available by the glass) from Italy and Australia, and even wines from Brazil, Austria, Japan and other unheralded regions. Playing on the ephemeral nature of wine, only limited quantities of each vino will be sourced – when one runs dry, it’ll be replaced by something new and unusual. The beer selection will include local craft beers and a small selection of Italian brews that sit on the fringe of the mainstream, while a clutch of classic cocktails (negronis, martinis, and the like) will act as the progenitor for Elementi’s eventual cocktail list, which will be gradually evolving.
Elementi is currently open to the public for takeaway only. We’ll keep you posted on when it opens for dine-in service, which will commence once the venue’s liquor license is approved. Head to the Stumble Guide for more info.
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