For L’s recent birthday we took the opportunity to relive some of our Italian food experiences and visit 1889 Enoteca at Woolloongabba. 1889 Enoteca specialises in Roman cuisine specifically, and features an extensive Italian wine list. The restaurant has been awarded one hat previously in the Queensland Good Food Guide Awards, but unfortunately lost this hat this year. The restaurant has however retained its spot (just, at number 99) in the Gourmet Traveller Top 100 Restaurants.
We are only really just getting into the Woolloongabba restaurant precinct, which is a lovely little area, and quite accessible to those that live on the southside. We were seated in the outdoor alfresco area, next to a highly turned up almost flame throwing heater that I asked to have turned down, a request which was immediately granted. It wasn’t that cold!
The wine list is certainly extremely extensive, and can also get quite pricey, however we loved that there was a special little section called “Italian Discoveries” listing great bottles of wine by Italian region at a price tag of under $70, from which we chose a bottle of Chianti. The wine was light, fruity and a great choice.
We knew we wanted to order dessert and substantial mains, so to avoid pigging out we chose the vegetable antipasti for two to start. A small plate of delicacies was placed in front of us (apologies for the blurriness of the photo. clearly too much wine at that stage already); a selection of olives, grilled capsicum, eggplant and zucchini, semi dried tomatoes, roast onion, capers and the very delightfully crunchy fried artichoke. A big squeeze of lemon and a slice of strong pecorino cheese finished it off. It was the perfect snack to start.
L chose 1889 Enoteca’s signature and celebrated dish; gnocci with pork and fennel sausage and black truffle tapenade. Its one of those dishes that will hopefully never be removed from the menu, a great celebration of flavours. At first glance, it looks creamy and overwhelming but is not due to perfect proportions of its elements.
I reluctantly passed over the typical Roman pastas; Spaghetti alla carbonara, Spaghetti cacio e pepe and Amatriciana in order to finally go with the Saltimbocca alla Romana. Now this dish was a bit of a surprise, whenever I have previously ordered veal saltimbocca it comes out pounded quite flat and covered with a sage sauce. This veal was presented fillet style, a generous serve of meat which was cooked pink and moist, wrapped with a salty proscuitto and served with asparagus and capsicum. I got over my intial surprise when I tasted the meat, it was delicious! Next time though, I have vowed to go with a Roman pasta.
We had a side of Italian greens with anchovy dressing for L’s benefit, he needed some vegies to go with his strong gnocci dish. The greens were al dente beans, and the dressing which I feared to be extremely salty, was actually quite buttery with a slight anchovy flavour. Very nicely done.
L had first choice of desserts, and decided on the Dark chocolate tart with mascarpone sorbet which had an interesting sour tang but was great paired with the dark bitter chocolate tart.
I went with my favourite dessert; Pannacotta which came with strawberries and a crumbled “biscotti”. This pannacotta was wonderfully thick and creamy.
We really enjoyed our meals at 1889 Enoteca. Its a shame about the one-hat award being dropped and we hope they get back up there next year. As mentioned, I’d love to go back to try out the Roman pastas, have some more of that artichoke, and be more adventurous with the wine list.
C1889 Enoteca 10-12 Logan Road Woolloongabba Ph 07 3392 4315 Open Lunch Tues-Fri and Sun, Dinner Tues-Sat www.1889enoteca.com.au