A take on a classic Italian trattoria, with dishes seen through Ben Williamson’s lens and built to suit the local produce and climate, Biánca also has one of the city’s finest wine lists, delving deep into Italy.
The essential workings of an Italian trattoria are epitomised at Bianca: lively vibes, plenty of good vino and food made with love. It’s the fifth sibling from powerhouse owners Frank Li, Ben Williamson, Tyron Simon and Bianca Marchi, Simon’s partner, and the namesake for this fun and stylish spot in Brisbane’s Fortitude Valley.
Each venue in the family has something unique to offer: Agnes is contemporary and moody, Honto is slick Japanese, Same Same is vibrant Thai, and Biànca is the loving Italian with oh-so-much personality. The long, communal tables that extend the length of the dining room are warmed by a dusty-pink colour scheme that adorns almost everything in sight, right down to the ice-machine and meat slicer. The kitchen anchors the room, looking over the open-air space that is completed by a bar that faces out to James Street. Walking past makes one wish they were sat inside with a bottle of wine and plate of burrata.
The group’s executive chef Ben Williamson has created a menu of classic Italian dishes with consideration to Brisbane’s climate, keeping ingredients zesty, bright and local. The antipasti menu is extensive, supported by house-made pastas and a handful of main course dishes, all of which make for a decision-making nightmare – everything looks delicious.
The wine list has one main agenda: Italy. One could become very well acquainted with the wine culture of the country based on the thorough offering at play. The selection fluctuates between traditional and lo-fi producers, while effortlessly reminding one that Italian wine is food wine. Head sommelier Millie Gosney, along with group sommelier Rani Parish, have executed a 350-strong bottle list with a knack for drinkability.
“At Biànca,” Gosney says, “we want to bring to the forefront the best representations of Italian wine available in Australia as well as varieties grown here and abroad.” Her passion for Italian wine measures up to her thorough knowledge on the topic, effortlessly marrying the perfect wine to your needs. “We also have a small selection of Champagne and Burgundy for the Francophiles out there,” she says. But Gosney’s version of small is most other people’s version of extensive, and if you’re a Burgundy nut the stellar selection oozes quality.
There’s no shortage of great Italian dining in Brisbane, but Biànca does great differently.