There are certain life changing experiences that we all encounter. It’s often a fairly typical list: your first job; your first home; travelling the world; having a child; falling in love. These are all amazing things that surely impact on our lives. After you experience any of these, you often feel wiser, richer, and filled with the knowledge that this life is truly worth living.
People, add Sandcrab Lasagne to that list.
My life surely changed as I sat at a table at Il Centro recently, admired the fantastic riverside CBD view the restaurant offers, and took my first bite of their specialty dish.
What happened next? I’m not even sure I remember. I just hope I was ladylike about it and didn’t pass out on the floor moaning, like my tastebuds wanted me to. This sandcrab lasagne is amazing. At $39.50 for a main serve ($26 for entree), it’s pretty good value. The thing is huge – I spied an entree sized version at another table and it was also a decent size. But once you bite into this bad boy you will be glad you went for the full serve.
It’s so simple: a thin layer of pasta sheets sandwich a mass of delicate, tender, flavoursome crab meat. A small dab of a sweet tomato sauce on top provides a slight acidic contrast to the creaminess, and it’s all swimming in this fantastic ‘crustacean sauce’. The result is a creamy, rich, meaty, comforting dish. It sounds incredibly rich – and I’m sure the ingredients are – but it’s very moreish and not at all sickly. There only seems to be two layers of pasta, which I think saves it from being a heavy and stodgy dish.
Across the table D was pouting. He had serious food envy. Rest assured he loved his wagyu steak (~$48) – it was one of the night’s specials and came with a layered vegetable bake and broccoli – but as he put it, “anything would taste like crap next to that lasagne”. His steak was fantastic though; it was perfectly cooked, full of flavour, and absolutely huge. The vegetables were a generous serve too. My photos don’t really do these dishes justice; and please, readers, before you scoff and leave me some disparaging comment about the photo quality, I know they’re bad. I took them on my phone, because frankly I’d rather not whip out an SLR in the middle of an anniversary dinner with my beloved.
We’d also had some sourdough bread with truffle and grana padano butter and green olives ($7), and were thoroughly fascinated with the truffle butter. We sat chewing and savouring each bite for ages, trying to figure out all the flavours in the butter. There were cheesy, nutty, and salty tastes. I can’t believe it is butter, basically.
Drinks were a wine for me (Antonutti Pinot Grigio, $11 a glass), and beer for D (Little Creatures Pale Ale, $8). And yes, $11 was the cheapest glass of wine on the menu, although I found the beer and spirits to be very reasonably priced.
The service at Il Centro was good: friendly, professional, yet relaxed. The ambiance is similar to that too; it’s clear it’s a fine dining restaurant, but any sort of stuffiness or stiff formality is absent. And how’s this for brownie points (pardon the pun): right before we left, our waitress presented us with a plate filled with little petit fours, with ‘Happy Anniversary’ spelled out in chocolate sauce. And no, they weren’t asked to do that. Rest assured we quickly got over our surprise and scoffed them down – the little purple macaron was my favourite.
Please go to Il Centro immediately and tick ‘Sandcrab Lasagna’ off your bucket list.
1 Eagle St
Brisbane QLD 4000
(07) 3221 6090