Who is Pasquale Trimboli? I’m co-owner of Italian and Sons in Braddon.
Best recent dining experience: Mimi’s in Coogee, Sydney. It was playful, fun and at the same time delivered professional service, great food and an exciting wine list in an iconic beachside setting. All the things that hospitality should be.
Most embarrassing pantry item: Onion spice mix. The unfortunate truth: sometimes we like to put a chicken on the spit at home and we can’t go past it. Tried and true.
Must-buy ingredient: Good-quality garlic. You just can’t buy good garlic unless it is local or organic. It’s one of the most essential ingredients in most base sauces and you can tell when it’s not there.
Next big thing: I think the next big thing is French food. They seem to be going through a revival. The French have always produced great food and wines; however, I think the general public is starting to discover the wonders of classic French cooking, perhaps with a modern twist. Their wines are exciting. You could say almost as good as the Italians!
Favourite place for breakfast in the ACT: My fall-back place for breakfast is home. We have our own chickens and you just can’t beat organic home-grown eggs. It also gets the kids involved.
My Canberra food secret: KYO Coffee Project in Braddon is great, particularly for a kimchi toastie and good coffee. We also enjoy the atmosphere of the Capital Region Farmers Market at Epic on a Saturday. Canberra seems to have very few good options that fly under the radar. When it comes to good produce, it tends to be discovered very quickly.
Biggest culinary influence: The biggest influence in my food career is my mother. I tend to keep referencing her food and the memories of growing up with those flavours. It is a wonderful thing being part of such a rich and diverse food culture.
Favourite cookbook: Giorgio Locatelli’s Made In Italy Food & Stories. Some books don’t deliver on the recipes, but Giorgio gets it right all the time.
Who I admire on the Canberra food and wine scene: I am a big believer in the bigger picture. And in this case, we need to respect and honour the local wine industry for giving restaurants like ours something to build on – the ability to develop a culture that goes beyond the restaurant experience. The modern-day pioneers such as Tim Kirk, chief winemaker and CEO of Clonakilla, and Ken Helm, winemaker and owner of Helm Wines, are a bigger influence on the dining scene than most would imagine.
What’s on the menu this week: This week we’re highlighting King George whiting, one of Australia’s most desirable fish. It has such a short season and we like to buy from suppliers who support sustainability. Over the past 25 years, we’ve had a great relationship with Sydney Fish Market and we buy direct.
Where I’m going next: Canberra has so much opportunity in the food game. Over the years I’ve seen many of our past employees try to emulate what we do, but they never seem to quite hit the mark. I feel that there is still room for more quality Italian offerings, and we’re planning a new pizzeria/late-night bar.
Death row meal: I would love nothing more than a freshly picked tomato from my father’s plot with some of my mother’s wood-fired baked bread. They remind me of my childhood and how lucky I have been to have experienced that.
My COVID-19 response: COVID-19 has truly been a sink-or-swim scenario. I adopted the approach that we need to remain positive and focus on the parameters given to us. So we adapted with retail and other products that added to the brand. This also meant that we simply had to reinvent certain aspects of the restaurants to work with what we could. As a result, we have been able to keep all our staff employed and we are now seeing record figures. There is always a silver lining.
My really simple recipe tip: A classic spaghetti aglio e olio – the easiest pasta in the world and so tasty. Always keep some anchovies and pasta in the pantry. Render down your anchovies in some olive oil, garlic and chilli for about five minutes while the pasta is cooking. Then simply toss the pasta in the pan and combine to develop the gluten and finish with a good handful of aged Parmigiano-Reggiano and parsley (toasted bread crumbs if you don’t have parmesan). Remember you must always use a high-quality dried pasta – we love the Martelli brand. The difference is enormous.
Braddon’s Italian and Sons trattoria has held one Hat in the Sydney Morning Herald Good Food Guide since 2017 and recently won Best Wine List ACT in the Australian Wine List of the Year Awards.