After years on the top of the Gold Coast’s dining popularity list, De Vito Waterfront recently opened their little brother restaurant, Bambino Ristorante in the Benowa Centre on Ashmore Road.
Run by Tarscha De Vito, Bambino is a two-level restaurant serving fine Italian food with a side of music…or is it the other way around? Plush with opera-centric décor, the venue is almost Venetian in style. Downstairs is relaxed, allowing BYO wine at $10 per bottle, whereas upstairs, lit by images of Cinque Terre and with a raised stage, doubles as a more formal fully licensed dinner and performance venue with no cover charge.
Given the rarity of live performance venues on the coast, Bambino really stands out from the crowd, its performers ranging from opera singers to open mic performers on a Wednesday night. It’s the concept of De Vito’s taken further; not just a singing chef, but regular performers and a fostering of local talent.
As exceptional as the dual role of this restaurant is, the food alone is worth a visit.
Chef Sonny Burgess (ex-Moo Moo) brings a lighter touch to Bambino’s table, more modern and Northern Italian in style than previously.
Shared entrées are a good place to start a meal: Carpaccio is a great version of the dish, the paper-thin beef topped with tomato concasse and salsa verde, a little pickled red onion adding an acidic bite.
Arancini steers clear of earthy mushroom and truffle, the chef opting instead for eggplant, tomato and capsicum with mozzarella and sopresso. Salt and pepper squid is spruced up with baby rocket and the bitterness of radicchio, with semi-dried tomato, lemon and herb ricotta pangrattato adding both flavour and texture to the dish.
Presentation of the dishes is delicate without being fussy, all the elements on the plate add to the flavour of the dish, the chef leaving white space on the plate to show off the dish at its best. Typical is the Snapper, lovingly plated up on an oblong dish with parsley smashed potatoes, an asparagus spear and pea and carrot purées.
Pollo Involtini is one of the best presentations of the dish that we have seen, the filled chicken breast wrapped in pancetta and cut crosswise to stand in a bed of creamy polenta surrounded by a tomato capsicum sauce. It’s outstanding and as delicious as it is beautiful.
Without a doubt, though, our dish of the day is the Tortellini, its delicate prawn and scallop mousse filling enclosed in house-made squid ink pasta, the casing falling apart at the touch of a fork. Served in a spicy arrabiata broth, the tortellini are topped with basil ricotta crumb. This is a dish we would travel for; the very best handmade pasta we’ve had for quite some time!
Desserts too are on trend, not too sweet and designed to be shared, if we must!
“I’m interested in the idea of playing with sweet and savoury together,” Chef Sonny tells us, explaining his dessert of Chocolate Spaghetti topped with fresh berries, vanilla mascarpone with a pour over chocolate sauce. Even the Tiramisu is right on trend, not too sweet, beautifully presented in a cocktail glass, to complement an espresso martini we’re sure!
The accompanying list of mostly Italian wines adds to the interest, after all, good food and wine accompanying excellent live performances completes the package of a great night out…and there are so few places where we can enjoy such a fabulous combination!
117 Ashmore Rd, Bundall Ph: 07 5539 3877
Open: Mon – Thurs 5pm – 11pm; Fri – Sun 12 midday – 11pm
NOTE: On one occasion, Good Food Gold Coast dined as a guest of Bambino.