We escaped our Brisbane house (no air-con) on a sweltering hot day for a little weekend “staycation” in a comfy Sebel apartment in the centre of the city. For dinner we were looking for a restaurant that met three criteria. One, it had to be air-conditioned, two, not expensive and three, walking distance. In direct line of sight from our apartment balcony we spotted an eatery on the corner of the street opposite called Pane E Vino. After a little research we found it verified all of our criteria.
Pane E Vino has been around for an incredible 19 years and has been a staple during the week for many Brisbane city office workers lunch. The restaurant is owned by two brothers, Toni and Gino D’Arienzo, who work with their Mum, Irene, and Dad, Ugo.
We arrived at 6:30pm and were seated inside; the large windows, which are usually open, were closed to contain the air conditioning. It was early evening and much to our relief it had started to cool down. Disappointingly, once inside it actually seemed cooler outside! The restaurant had a distinct bistro ambience with high ceilings, hard floor surfaces and predominantly black and white tones reminding me a little of e’cco bistro.
To start we ordered the salt & pepper calamari with aioli and lime and the waiter’s suggestion of pea and mozzarella arancini with a spicy tomato salsa. The calamari was nice and tender, however, the crispness I was hoping to find in the batter, wasn’t there. The arancini were delightful with a perfect molten centre spotted with peas. It was a pleasant start and I eagerly anticipated their specialty, pasta!
From other reviews I had read of Pane E Vino, it was renown for its great risottos, a favourite Italian dish of mine. Instead the pasta special of the night drew my attention more than the risottos on the menu; veal tortellini with a tomato rosette sauce and butternut mushrooms. The pasta was perfectly cooked al dente, with the veal providing a delicate meaty flavour. The sauce was subtler than the usual tomato sauce and went well with the pasta. It was a big hit with the princess who ate nine of my precious tortellini pieces leaving the mushrooms of course!
Dad had the ‘Al Ragu’ – slow cooked Wagyu blade ragu with rigatoni. The wagyu gave way easily to the fork but we both thought more sauce would have boosted the flavour. Nevertheless Dad was happy with the dish.
Mum had the ‘Con Gamberi’ – prawns, roma tomato, spinach, shallots, olive oil, chili with spaghetti. Unlike Dad’s pasta there was plenty of sauce with the spaghetti. I thought it would have been nice to mop up the sauce with some bread, had we ordered some. Mum loved the dish and complemented the perfectly cooked prawns.
The Princess had the kids menu spaghetti & meatballs, which she loved so much that she didn’t wait for a photo.
Pane E Vino is one of those traditional family-owned Italian restaurants serving hearty and delicious dishes that I hope will continue to reliably cater for the city worker and families like mine exploring Brisbane’s city centre for many years to come.