Cooking Italian at home (and by this I mean upending a jar of Dolmio sauce over a saucepan of homebrand pasta tubes) has become so accessible that it can take something special to force us to truly appreciate fine dining Italian when eating out.
Luckily for Brisbane, there are plenty of fantastic Italian restaurants around, one of them being award-winning suburban pasta hotspot Bella Cosi. Located just a hop, skip and jump down the road from Westfield Chermside, Bella Cosi has been charming locals and winning awards since 2009.
Inside, the decor is contemporary and simple. The acoustics of the restaurant mean that the din can get a bit loud in peak times, but this is to be expected of such a popular spot. The service occasionally leaves a little to be desired, and could be quicker and more attentive. Fortunately, the quality of the meals overshadows these minor gripes
The menu is more creative and extensive than most. Riffs on the classic garlic bread and a traditional bruschetta can be found on the breads menu, and entrees include the pappardelle al tartufo (pappardelle pasta with shaved truffles, confit garlic-infused olive oil and crisp pork belly, $25), eye fillet carpaccio ($20), and stracciatella (chicken consomme with egg and parmesan, served with warm ciabatta, $10).
There is no boring old beef lasagne in sight on the pasta menu; in its place is the confit duck and wild mushroom ragu layered with Grana Padano and crisp duck skin ($29). You’ll also find Moreton Bay bugs sauteed with chilli, ginger and garlic, flamed in brandy and cooked in a rosa sauce over pappardelle ($36), and the granchio piccante con linguini (crab with garlic, chilli and tomato sauce flamed with brandy, $34).
A range of risotto, main plates and sides are also available. If you have any room left for dessert, the tiramisu ($12) is the perfect end to an Italian meal. And if parties (in-house or offsite) are your thing, you're in luck, because the folks at Bella Cosi also offer catering services.