Pasta laboratory Ripiena officially opens in Fortitude Valley
Making pasta is easy to learn but hard to master, meaning that crafting the best pasta is a skill akin to high art. While too modest to claim a mastery of the pasta-making craft, Nicoló Campagnari is no doubt exceptionally skilled at making mouth-watering tortellini and agnolotti. Today, Monday December 10, Nicoló and Anita Campagnari are opening Ripiena in Fortitude Valley. Ripiena is a hole-in-the-wall pasta joint looking to prove that the perfect pasta is best made (and served) in an uncomplicated manner, letting exceptional ingredients speak for themselves.
Although never his main vocation, cooking has always been a consistent pastime for Verona-born Nicoló Campagnari. While living in Beijing pursuing a career in finance, Nicoló met Brisbane ex-pat and future wife Anita and a shared passion for food spurred the genesis of Fortitude Valley newcomer Ripiena. Relocating to Anita’s hometown gave Nicoló the opportunity to pivot from number crunching to pasta making, following in the footsteps of heralded culinary artisans of Italy and Japan who specialise in one aspect of cooking, be it pasta making or the art of sushi. For Ripiena, the Campagnaris are focusing on the basics, zeroing in on what makes good pasta and giving due reverence to high-quality ingredients that make a difference to the taste and end result. One part cosy sit-down restaurant and one part pasta lab and providore, Ripiena is showing that top-flight pasta can be made and enjoyed without a lengthy list of ingredients and hours of your time.
Ripiena is situated at the base of Fortitude Valley’s Alpha Mosaic Building, its Ann Street-facing space sitting equidistant from nearby tenants Happy Boy and Mr Chester Wine Bar. Nicoló and Anita have furnished one half of the compact space with a minimal but modern dining area, adding seating for more than 14 patrons bathed in the light of a neon tortellini sign. The other portion of the venue is given over to the pasta lab, where a sizeable prep table (scratch-built from new pine and reclaimed timber) is used for rolling, cutting and portioning out fresh pasta for dine in or takeaway. Floor-to-ceiling windows give foot traffic a chance to catch a glimpse of the magic, as the Campagnaris prep pasta using various utensils and a shiny Imperia pasta machine.
The food and drink
As huge proponents of the slow-food movement, Nicoló and Anita are keeping their cooking methods as traditional as possible. Unlike many contemporary Italian restaurants that overwhelm their product with a cavalcade of unnecessary ingredients, Ripiena is stripping its recipes back to core flavours, letting the pasta speak for itself. Ripiena uses locally sourced products almost exclusively, with one exception being double-zero soft durum-wheat flour imported from Italy. Due to the unpredictable nature of produce availability and seasonality, the menu is flexible, but at any point diners will be able to sample a selection of freshly made long pasta, filled pasta and sides. Upon opening Ripiena is serving up the likes of tagliatelle doused with either butter and Parmigiano-Reggiano or with a rich bolognese ragu, tortellini stuffed with pork loin, prosciutto crudo di Parma and mortadella, and agnolotti del plin filled with slow-cooked beef cheek. Those of you looking to enjoy this pasta in the comfort of your own home can purchase it cooked or uncooked, but diners that score a table can enjoy their meal with BYO wine or with a selection of effervescent soft drinks from Lurisia.
Ripiena opens today, Monday December 10. Get all the extra details you need in the Stumble Guide.
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