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FOOD + DRINK

Italian presto RESTAURANT Tony Harper

CASUAL FLAIR … Caprese salad (below) at Il Verde. Pictures: Mark Cranitch.

IL VERDE 2 King St, Bowen Hills Ph: 3638 0494 Chef: Ibrahim Haddad Lunch and dinner daily Eftpos and major credit cards Vegetarian and gluten-free options On-street parking SCORES OUT OF 10 Food: 6 Drinks: 6.5 Vibe: 6 Service: 7.5

Bowen Hills’ King St precinct has tripled in size since my last visit, admittedly a year ago, and looks poised to keep going. Aside from Montrachet and a couple of less exotic choices, its venues range from casual to fast foods. Il Verde is one of the in-betweens. It’s a restaurant for sure, but without the pretensions of Montrachet and keenly priced with pace and standards well above the fast-food moniker. It sits in that genre of Italian that we’ve all seen here a thousand times: nothing new, nothing special, just a rehashing of the pops without setting the world on fire or tossing us into the pits of hell. Just like 90 per cent of the restaurants I visit each year – Italian, American, Thai, Chinese, Greek or mod-Oz, it doesn’t matter. It’s the other 10 per cent that thrills me: the great and the woeful. But Il Verde is neither. It’s nice to look at. New, obviously, because of its location and evenly split between indoors and out. Service is engaging, fast and coddling enough without being intrusive; the kind I like. Thinking back, there’s not a service blip in the experience: timing perfect, drinks when needed, food as it comes. It’s the sort of service you don’t notice until you realise you haven’t needed to – isn’t that the best kind? The chilli oil on the table is almost brown, the oil is totally oxidised. Not a good omen. Don’t Italians pride themselves on this sort of stuff? I opt for a beer – Peroni Red. I get to choose from Peroni in three guises

(Leggera, Red and the quasi-stuff on tap), Menabrea, One Fifty Lashes, Corona, Hahn and Cascade Light. Hardly the stuff of legend, but the wines offer more to like because the list is written and almost entirely supplied by a good wholesaler. It mixes Italians, Australians, New Zealanders and even a few French, by the glass and by the bottle. Here we go with the menu: bruschetta; calamari fritti; arancini; focaccia; pasta and risotto; pizza (rossa and bianca); bistecca; pollo diavola; insalata … you get the gist I’m sure. Calamari fritti ($14) is the best of our dishes, really good in fact. Saline, tender, perfectly coated for just a lick of crunch. It’s simple, but perfectly executed. Caprese salad ($18) is something of an interpretation: more rocket than basil, bocconcini in a single lump in the middle (that’s fine), wedges of tomato and a dozen or so croutons. I want more basil and less rocket, but it does the trick as a cleanser. If the margherita pizza ($19) had made it to the table when still hot it would have been a killer, but it arrives tepid, almost cold. Still, it’s good pizza, neither over nor under-catered with topping. Risotto con salsiccia and taleggio ($25) is OK: gluggy, not enough taleggio poking its head through the flavours. Is it great? No. Is it awful? Definitely not. It’s just another restaurant content to tread the middle path, to feed people without inspiration or excitement.

Auction - Selected Works Brian Tucker Collection Sunday 25 March 5.00pm The Johnson Hotel, 477 Boundary Street Spring Hill QLD 4000 Viewing at Jan Manton Art Gallery 1/93 Fortescue St Spring Hill 4000 Thursday 22nd March 11am – 5.00pm Friday 23rd March 11am – 5.00pm

Saturday 24th March 11am – 5.00pm Sunday 25th March 11am – 3.00pm

Auction enquiries Jan Manton - 0419 657 768 Jon Dwyer – 0409 439 943

Brisbane News Magazine March 14 - 20, 2018. ISSUE 1168  

Brisbane's premier weekly lifestyle mag, featuring the people, events, food, and properties that make our city beautiful. brisbanenews.com.a...

Brisbane News Magazine March 14 - 20, 2018. ISSUE 1168  

Brisbane's premier weekly lifestyle mag, featuring the people, events, food, and properties that make our city beautiful. brisbanenews.com.a...