Italian and Sons, a review

johnboy 29 April 2012 29

italian and sons

One of the consolations of being a single man is, every now and then, buying a beautiful woman a wonderful dinner.

So on Friday I’d rustled up a date and we went to Italian and Sons (aka Restaurant No 7 for reasons not immediately obvious) in Braddon.

My first surprise was calling just after lunch on Friday to make a booking for 7.30 only to learn they were already booked solid, but could fit us in at 8.30.

No matter, time for a cocktail at Knightsbridge prior to dinner.

With the reputation and string of awards I’ll admit I was expecting something grand, so was a little surprised by the somewhat cramped, somewhat industrial space.

It’s not grand, it is intimate and, more importantly, it’s COOL.

On being seated came the joy that aside from the obligatory Peroni there was nothing on the beer menu I was familiar with. I went for a double malted brew that came in an oval shaped black glass bottle. Mystery and adventure.

And then there’s the menu which just bristles with the novel and incomprehensible in equal parts.

This does come at a price for a man on a hot date though, admitting you don’t actually know everything and asking the waitress for help with putting a meal together.

Fortunately the staff were brilliant and we got through it all.

I started with the crystal bay prawns and moved onto the suckling pig ragu while my date had stuffed zucchini flowers off the specials menu and something else which eludes me now. On advice we ordered the braised beans (in garlic and olive oil of course) as a side.

To go with it we had a bottle of chianti which, while not cheap, appeared to be bottomless (and was perfect with the food).

Somewhere between the magnificent starter and the main we were a bit surprised to be apologised to. The conversation had been cracking along and we hadn’t noticed there’d been a delay. So being offered a free dessert or second bottle of wine was a bit of a bonus.

Having heard stories we both opted for the tiramisu which was altogether a different beast to what you buy from the supermarket.

My date maintains her loyalty to the Tossolinis tiramisu but I thought it was excellent. We had it with a desert wine arrived at after considerable consultation with the staff.

The ingredients were great, the cooking is inspired. They’re bringing new flavours and produce to the table (and I have travelled in Italy).

The staff were an absolute delight and the atmosphere is captivating.

If you’re paying for desert expect to pay in the order of $250 (with drinks).

But worth every penny. Highly recommended.


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29 Responses to Italian and Sons, a review
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milkman milkman 6:41 pm 30 Apr 12

LSWCHP said :

VYBerlinaV8_is_back said :

johnboy said :

she may indeed have dabbled in fire twirling.

but I’m not so crass as to demand anything in exchange for dinner.

works better in the long run I find.

Smoooooooooth.

Yeah, we truly are not worthy. 🙂

We certainly are not!

LSWCHP LSWCHP 6:26 pm 30 Apr 12

VYBerlinaV8_is_back said :

johnboy said :

she may indeed have dabbled in fire twirling.

but I’m not so crass as to demand anything in exchange for dinner.

works better in the long run I find.

Smoooooooooth.

Yeah, we truly are not worthy. 🙂

VYBerlinaV8_is_back VYBerlinaV8_is_back 4:30 pm 30 Apr 12

johnboy said :

she may indeed have dabbled in fire twirling.

but I’m not so crass as to demand anything in exchange for dinner.

works better in the long run I find.

Smoooooooooth.

VYBerlinaV8_is_back VYBerlinaV8_is_back 4:09 pm 30 Apr 12

johnboy said :

the $250 got me a lovely meal with delightful company and nothing more.

You silly bugger – if she wasn’t going to go for a ride you should have taken her to Maccas.

(Is this one a fire-twirler?)

    johnboy johnboy 4:10 pm 30 Apr 12

    she may indeed have dabbled in fire twirling.

    but I’m not so crass as to demand anything in exchange for dinner.

    works better in the long run I find.

Diggety Diggety 3:16 pm 30 Apr 12

So… Did the $250 pay off (wink, wink, nudge, nudge)?

    johnboy johnboy 3:17 pm 30 Apr 12

    the $250 got me a lovely meal with delightful company and nothing more.

rosscoact rosscoact 12:46 pm 30 Apr 12

poetix said :

rosscoact said :

You may consider that this was meant to be a joke. Honestly, my brilliance is lost on you people, in fact most people fail to recognise it

Sorry, the sun shining from your date blinded me momentarily (-:

Do not go towards the light

poetix poetix 12:26 pm 30 Apr 12

rosscoact said :

You may consider that this was meant to be a joke. Honestly, my brilliance is lost on you people, in fact most people fail to recognise it

Sorry, the sun shining from your date blinded me momentarily (-:

rosscoact rosscoact 12:08 pm 30 Apr 12

You may consider that this was meant to be a joke. Honestly, my brilliance is lost on you people, in fact most people fail to recognise it

poetix said :

rosscoact said :

poetix said :

Desert wine is made from dates. Here’s an annoying little couplet to help you remember the Right Word:

One s, dry and sandy
Two s, sweet like candy

No need to thank me…

Thanks, I do know how to spell, here it was a case of monkey see monkey do.

You may wish to consider however that desert wine is made of the common grape as wine originated in the middle east. Quite possibly a forebear of muscat or shiraz, both heat tolerant species.

While wine was mode from other materials especially date, palms and pomegranates it was probably the equivalent of wine made from such things today. Ok to get you pissed but not much good for anything else.

Thus endeth the lesson.

You may wish to consider that my comment about dates was a joke, (desert=dates) and related to #11 in particular. Wine people can be a tad touchy on Monday mornings!

jsm2090 jsm2090 10:10 am 30 Apr 12

pajs said :

Good stuff, John. Italian & Sons is my favourite place for Italian food in Canberra. Book for the second sitting if you can, but also good to fly solo at turn up early to eat at the counter.

Shhh! Don’t let that secret out of the bag! When the fridge at home is empty, we often turn up at 6:30 for some antipasti and a pizza at the bar.

Good review. I’m amazed to hear the comments about the service- while I would strongly recommend against trying to order a hot-weak-soy-latte, I’ve only ever found the service to range between excellent/warm and friendly, or good but lacking personality.

pajs pajs 9:50 am 30 Apr 12

Good stuff, John. Italian & Sons is my favourite place for Italian food in Canberra. Book for the second sitting if you can, but also good to fly solo at turn up early to eat at the counter.

Madam Cholet Madam Cholet 9:11 am 30 Apr 12

I have to agree the food is great at I&S. Having heard so much about it and having had trouble getting a table, I was a tad disappointed at the size and squishiness of it all – we were seated up the back and had a lot of waiter traffic as that is where they pick up the meals. But thems the breaks I suppose when you book a table at an achingly popular eatery!

And if you wanted a really good dessert wine experience try Gaillac. It’s hard to find at restaurants and to buy. I originally had it at The Ginger Room as my freebie after they stuffed up our table booking. I’m not a fan of dessert wines at all really, but this one, being served cold softens the sweetness, making it quite sharp. Found a bottle at Jim Murphys at the airport by accident once.

I wonder what the next “must eat at” restaurant will be?

poetix poetix 8:21 am 30 Apr 12

rosscoact said :

poetix said :

Desert wine is made from dates. Here’s an annoying little couplet to help you remember the Right Word:

One s, dry and sandy
Two s, sweet like candy

No need to thank me…

Thanks, I do know how to spell, here it was a case of monkey see monkey do.

You may wish to consider however that desert wine is made of the common grape as wine originated in the middle east. Quite possibly a forebear of muscat or shiraz, both heat tolerant species.

While wine was mode from other materials especially date, palms and pomegranates it was probably the equivalent of wine made from such things today. Ok to get you pissed but not much good for anything else.

Thus endeth the lesson.

You may wish to consider that my comment about dates was a joke, (desert=dates) and related to #11 in particular. Wine people can be a tad touchy on Monday mornings!

rosscoact rosscoact 6:43 am 30 Apr 12

poetix said :

Desert wine is made from dates. Here’s an annoying little couplet to help you remember the Right Word:

One s, dry and sandy
Two s, sweet like candy

No need to thank me…

Thanks, I do know how to spell, here it was a case of monkey see monkey do.

You may wish to consider however that desert wine is made of the common grape as wine originated in the middle east. Quite possibly a forebear of muscat or shiraz, both heat tolerant species.

While wine was mode from other materials especially date, palms and pomegranates it was probably the equivalent of wine made from such things today. Ok to get you pissed but not much good for anything else.

Thus endeth the lesson.

gazmant gazmant 10:11 pm 29 Apr 12

I was impressed with the food when I was there.

Deref Deref 9:51 pm 29 Apr 12

It sounds as if you had a wonderful night. 🙂

I’ve been to Italian and Sons a few times. My impression on each occasion was that it was alright, but not wonderful. Noisy, a little cramped and, overall, not a wonderful experience. That’s not to disparage yours, of course.

I’ve found La Cantina in Narrabundah much better though. The food’ at least as good, the atmosphere’s delightful, the decor is incomparably better and the prices are about 2/3 those of Italian and Sons.

poetix poetix 9:45 pm 29 Apr 12

Desert wine is made from dates. Here’s an annoying little couplet to help you remember the Right Word:

One s, dry and sandy
Two s, sweet like candy

No need to thank me…

clp clp 8:44 pm 29 Apr 12

I really liked it the one time I went. I think it would make a great date place as its has atmosphere which helps with conversation. It falls into the quality bistro side I feel and that’s an area which Canberra really lacks.

patrick_keogh patrick_keogh 8:01 pm 29 Apr 12

johnboy said :

Unlike certain other corrupt reviewing outfits we don’t announce ourselves which makes photography of the food tricksy.

I guess it is possible that the staff there are as unobservant as you appear to suggest. So let’s do a straw poll – who else has been offered a free bottle of wine at I&S for the food being a little late?

Bad Seed Bad Seed 7:35 pm 29 Apr 12

I had dinner there for the first time with Mr Bad Seed last month for a wedding anniversary and was astounded to find it packed on a Monday night. We had a terrfic meal and I was highly recommend it. Only interesting point was that our reservation, although in the book, had already been crossed off. Whether some sneaky person without a booking had pretended to be us or the staff had made a mistake, I don’t know. Worked to our advantage though because the tables for two are very small and we ended up at a table set for 4 with a bit more elbow room. Yes, its not cheap but it was a very enjoyable meal.

Holden Caulfield Holden Caulfield 6:56 pm 29 Apr 12

I’ve been to Italian & Sons a few times, most recently last Thursday. The food has been very good every time.

In my experience, it’s the service that varies, from acceptable to pretty much disgraceful.

The double sittings can catch people out, especially if the staff aren’t up front either when taking the reservation or when seating the guests when they arrive.

Being told you don’t have time to order a dessert when you ask for the menu isn’t really the time to find out.

Worse, having already kicked us off the table, was having to wait close to 10 minutes at the counter to pay. Should have just bloody walked out!

That was a while back and I have been back a couple of times since, without that crap treatment again.

Although, on Thursday when we arrived, we waited at the front counter, and three wait staff asked us if we were okay, yet none of them were able to seat us until the ponce behind the counter bothered to find the few seconds required to check our booking and table number.

Thankfully, as always, the food was excellent.

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