Nonna’s Pizza & Deli brings an authentic trattoria experience to South Bank
Even those of us that aren’t Italian know that Italian cuisine is often at its best when it’s made by the hands of nonna. South Bank’s newest bar and eatery is looking to channel a slice of that homely appeal, paying homage to the matriarchal figurehead with a menu of woodfired fare. Nonna’s Pizza & Deli officially opens to the public tonight Thursday April 29 – here’s a sneak peek at what the kitchen’s got in store …
If there’s a thematic undercurrent to dining culture in the first half of 2021, it’s escapism. As long as we’re confined to the borders of the continent, food will act as the stand-in for overseas travel. We’re content with our tastebuds collecting a passport’s worth of culinary stamps as long as we’ve got spots like Nonna’s Pizza & Deli to enjoy. This brand-new eatery and bar is transporting diners to the streets of Napoli, dishing up all the homestyle fare that one would expect to enjoy on an overseas jaunt. The restaurant comes from the Olé Group (Olé Restaurant, Mucho Mexicano, Downtown Istanbul), a crew that knows a thing or two about worldly cuisine. Nonna’s Pizza & Deli (and its swish cocktail-oriented addition Bar Italia) is nestled on Grey Street in the site formerly occupied by Ole Group’s first Italian foray Mister Paganini (as well as its neighbouring space). Roughly 400 sqm of room has been transformed into a multifaceted casual-yet-refined hub encompassing restaurant, bar and deli areas, with seating for 200 spread across dining tables, bar perches and comfy horseshoe-shaped booths.
Nonna’s Pizza & Deli is menu is all about stirring up emotions like nostalgia, comfort and joy – the kind of feeling that all good food (and any epicurean escapism) evokes. Ole Group’s executive chef Craig Wright has aimed for a midpoint between classic and modern Italian – think family-style fare predicated on local produce that’s been elevated a smidge with some creative quirks. Nonna’s Deli helps lighten the load on bleary-eyed early worms with a range of breakfast bites (Sardinian eggs Benedict, zucchini fritters, breakfast buns and mango granola bowls), piadina sandwiches, pastries, Campos coffee, fresh juices and smoothies. At night, the restaurant fun starts with snacks like crisp zucchini flowers with ricotta and mint, woodfired Hervey Bay scallops with garlic butter and San Daniele prosciutto with gnocco fritto and straciatella, before progressing to larger starters such as cacio e pepe wings, crispy baby squid with basil aioli, and a lavish antipasto platter piled high with cured meats, cheeses and breads. As tempting as these tasters sound, everyone knows a true Italian feast is a marathon, not a sprint. With this in mind, it’s best to save room for mains – we’re talking Moreton Bay bug bucatini, pan-roasted Tasmanian salmon and pea risotto, and Sardinian gnocchi with roast lamb rump. Got a crew to chew with? Then perhaps a selection of Napoli-style pizzas (all carefully woodfired using local Queensland blackbutt timber) would best suit many mouths. The pizza menu boasts five red and five white varieties, including familiar faves like the margherita and four-cheese pizza as well as signature slices like Nonna’s Favourite, which comes topped with mozarella, pork-and-fennel sausage, wild broccoli, garlic and pistachio. Group’s that are especially keen for something homemade and hearty can also opt for shareable larger plates, which include osso bucco with saffron risotto, whole roast woodfired Black Onyx rump cap and lamb shoulder with garlic mash. Over at Bar Italia, guests can quaff imported and local Queensland beers, Italian, Australian and New Zealand wines, spritzes and old-school classic cocktails and some contemporary concoctions.
Nonna’s Pizza & Deli officially opens to the public at 5:00 pm today, Thursday April 29. Check out the Stumble Guide for operating hours and contact details.
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