UPDATE: Locanda is now closed. Head to 1889 Enotecha for a bit of the owner's magic.So I went to Locanda twice in 24 hours last week.
I love this place.
The guys from 1889 Enoteca in Wooloongabba own it, so you know the wine list is going to be extensive, potentially expensive, and delicious.
An 'Osteria' is an Italian restaurant, usually simple or inexpensive. Your local, if you will.
Now I'm not saying that Locanda is really either, but it is fab. And in true Italian style, each dish I've had there featured stellar ingredients and minimal fuss.
I first went to Locanda in October 2014 for my birthday, courtesy of my good friend LoLo. We had a fab girls' night out; enjoying red wine, antipasto and pasta. We left with full bellies and vowed to return.
Last week, D and I went after an IT 'do for work. Sort-of compensation for spending Monday night talking computer hardware!
We chose a bottle of prosecco for our Monday evening tipple, and it was served enthusiastically over the course of about an hour. I can certainly climb through a bottle when the service is good! No sooner had I finished a glass, was it topped up again. Like my dream version of the never-ending supply of Tim Tams.
I had happy, happy memories of feasting on prosciutto and rockmelon in Italy back in 2011. I fell in love with the combination of buttery soft cured meat wrapped around sweet, fresh melon. I could think of nothing better to have with an aperitif. Except when they do it with fresh figs!
So when I saw Prosciutto e Melone on the menu at Locanda, it was a sure thing. Alongside that dish we ordered the Caprese salad - another favourite. Each family kitchen and every restaurant has their own interpretation of this classic tri-colour salad. The red of the tomato contrasts so vibrantly with green basil, and the creamy white of the fior di latte.
Prosecco in hand, we awaited two of my favourite dishes of all time. The prosciutto and melon was fabulous. So good that I ordered it again the following day when I lunched with my Mum. The prosciutto was soft, subtle and just meltingly-moorish. The melon was fragrant, cool but not so cold as to render it flavourless. The dish was complemented with some soft curd - perhaps a buffalo mozzarella? Lovely. A little balsamic glaze and bitter leaves finished this starter, and I was in lust with the whole plate. I could eat it back-to-back 5 times over, all to myself. #insertemojiwiththelovehearteyes.
The caprese, on the other hand, was a tad underwhelming. This was mostly serving-size related. For an $18 starter, it was small. If it had been $10-12, I'd have been totally satisfied. The flavours were good - some caramelised onion segments sweetened up the dish, and there was a piece of garlic toast included for good measure. The olive oil was extra fruity, and overall we enjoyed it. We would've love it if it were double the size, as it didn't fare too well on the sharing front. On the other hand, the proscuitto and melon starter was very generously portioned.
For our mains we ordered the risotto of the day (can't resist!) and the gnocchi. Our spritely waitress waxed lyrical about the risotto special: fresh basil pesto with proscuitto. I'm often tempted by a risotto, and the idea of a flavoursome pesto sealed the deal for me.
When it arrived, I was pretty stoked: indulgent serving, a bright green pesto and ribbons of that gorgeous proscuitto again. The rice was perfectly cooked (I always stuff this up at home) and the basil pesto was fresh and flavourful withou