10-12 Logan Road
Woolloongabba QLD 4102
+61 7 3392 4315
After a spot of antique shop-browsing along the Woolloongabba Fiveways, I worked up an appetite and decided it was time for lunch. Having walked past supposedly one of Brisbane’s finest Italian restaurants, 1889 Enoteca, earlier that morning, I decided that I was going to have lunch there.
At 12pm on a Thursday afternoon, the restaurant, which also
doubles triples up as a wine bar and a wine store, is quiet except for one table filled with noisy businessmen entertaining their overseas clients. Because it was a lovely day (27 degrees, mate!), I grabbed a seat outside to soak up some vitamin D.
1889 Enoteca began life as the Taylor-Heaslop building, which opened in 1889 (hence, the name). It then became known as the Old Moreton Rubber building and has since been heritage-listed. And it’s no wonder why. It’s a beautiful building that may be from another era, yet it does not look out of place on Logan Road where antique stores and boutiques are abundant.
The wine list here focuses on the more unusual Italian varieties and man, what a wine list it is! There were organic wines and wines that were made with biodynamically grown grapes, mostly from Italy but a few from France. I was overwhelmed by the choices but luckily, the cute European waiter was on hand to offer suggestions. After I told him what I was going to order, he immediately suggested I ordered the 2009 Guccione ‘Veruzza’ Trebbiano ($16.50) because it was ‘a bit weird’ but ‘would go well with the pasta’, to which I said, ‘yeah okay, cool’ because I’m a chump who doesn’t know much about wines.
The Veruzza is from Sicily and like your typical Mafioso, this drop was bold with a hint of nuttiness. Moreover, it was a sweetly perfumed wine that was big on the melon notes and spiciness. Yes, it was a bit unusual in it was particularly piquant but the waiter was right, it DID hold beautifully against my dish.
1889 Enoteca’s focus is on the rustic and bold flavours of Roman-style food. But while Melbourne’s own Roman-style restaurant Giuseppe Arnaldo & Sons is all about being one big Roman Bloc party, 1889 Enoteca’s approach is more classical, more subdued, more Cacilius-est-in-villa-like (there’s a shout-out to my year 7 Latin classmates) but certainly not less impressive.
I chose an entrée-sized pork and fennel sausage gnocchi with black truffle tapenade ($24), arguably 1889’s signature dish. I can certainly see why. It was perfectly-portioned to account for the large carb intake in the form of soft, pillowy blobs of awesome, awesome potato gnocchi that practically melted in your mouth. The pork and fennel sausages were just beautiful in flavour and texture, and they merged seamlessly with the creamy black truffle tapenade. Mind blown? Damn right.
I’ve had heaps of pasta dishes in my lifetime but I would definitely list 1889 Enoteca’s pork and fennel sausage gnocchi as one of my favourites. In fact, it was by far the best pasta dish I’ve had all year. No exaggeration. I simply couldn’t fault it. As an aside, I’ve been told that the restaurant offers a vegetarian version of it (all they need to do is omit the sausages). Gnocchi with black truffle tapenade? Hell, even that sounds epic.
Given my dish’s quality, I’d say that $24 is a reasonable price to pay. However, my $16.50 glass of wine meant that my meal was a smidgen over $40. It was definitely not a recession-busting lunch in a state where an indefinite recession seemingly exists but it was worth every dollar.