I think I’ve got a bit of a problem with fresh, proper Italian pasta. A little while ago I had a rather religious experience at Il Centro. I was more focussed on my fresh ravioli in Rome than the Colloseum. And, the other week, I had a little moment in Paddington.
D and I were at Grappino, an Italian restaurant that’s known as a bit of an institution. We ordered the famous veal medallions (Vitello Saltimbocca) , and the pasta marinara (Grappino’s Marinara). I also ordered a glass of Venetian Pinot Grigio (around $13), and D cheekily copied me. He is like that kid in preschool who does EVERYTHING you do, then gets hurt when you start yelling. Sheesh.
Anyway – the meals arrived promptly, delivered by one of our polite waiters. I was really excited about the veal, as Momma T had been raving about it for years. And if someone knows meat, by God it’s my mother.
The prosciutto on top of each plump medallion was sublime. Just gently fried, it was crispy but still had an easy chew to it, with a yummy salty touch. The veal itself was good, but not the best I’ve had. It tasted very lean, which is great, but it was also a bit chewy. The sauce it was in on the other hand – hold the phone. I resisted the urge to grab a spoon and start slurping the stuff up, soup-style. I’d definitely recommend ordering a side of bread to mop this sauce up. The veal comes with your choice of linguine or a side, and we chose the Caprese salad – it was a little on the small side, but the fresh buffalo bocconcini and juicy tomatoes saved it many times over.
The veal may have been a little disapointing, but the pasta (pictured – yes I am aware it’s a dreadful photo) more than made up for it. This is where my little ‘fresh pasta’ motor kicks in and I am taken over by a machine who simply must be stuffed with linguine. The seafood was plump and fresh, the sauce was creamy but had a tomato flavour that counteracted any sickly richness, and the pasta had that wonderful chew that only fresh al dente pasta can have.
Now, some people may baulk at the prices – the veal was $37.50, and the pasta $34.50 – but I thought the portions were pretty reasonably sized, and that an entree wasn’t needed.
After we finished we contemplated getting coffee or dessert (the home made self saucing pudding sounded pretty enticing), but we realised we just didn’t like sitting there. Grappino is decorated in a bit of an old-school, Italian trattoria style, with minimal furnishings and bare tabletops. The cool effect may be lost on me, as I just didn’t find it had a warm or welcoming ambience.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I must find an altar somewhere in the wheat fields and pray to the pasta Gods.
226 Given Terrace
Brisbane QLD 4064
(07) 3367 0033