The Trimboli family already had a firm Italian dining foothold in Canberra with their much lauded Mezzalira restaurant in London Circuit, but almost 15 years after opening that Canberra institution, they have perhaps become best known, outside Canberra at least, for their ground-breaking foray into Braddon, with Italian and Sons.
Braddon has become one of Canberra’s best-loved food precincts, and its upward trajectory is linked in no small way to the opening of the Trimboli family’s second restaurant on Lonsdale Street in 2009. While Mezzalira is very much in a grand Italian fine dining mould, think Grossi Florentino or Buon Ricordo, Italian and Sons has much more in common with say Fratelli Paradiso or Bar Carolina. This more casual emphasis knits into the progressive vibe of Lonsdale Street, but the cooking remains both resolutely Italian and of the very highest standard.
The interior ticks some familiar mod-Italian casual boxes. Bentwood chairs of the darkest hue attend tightly packed timber tables where linen is traded in for squares of butcher’s paper, with Duralex water tumblers holding all in place. Specials are emphatically chalked on various blackboards, and wine is corralled into stainless steel shelves suspended from the ceiling, with smallgoods hooked beneath, in easy reach of the bar-top slicer. The menu focuses on wood-fired pizza and pasta, with a selection of salumi and antipasti in support, while the piatti del giorno satisfies larger protein cravings.
Pasquale Trimboli takes charge of the wine across the family’s four venues, with Italian and Sons stocking upwards of 200 bottles, with 24 available by the glass. The list is predictably Italian-centric, and one of the most compelling and celebrated in Canberra. “I have chosen to select wines based on the ability to showcase the diverse regions and terroir that Italy has to offer. I generally won’t have a wine on the list unless it has distinct character or sense of individuality,” he says. “The wines are also moving into some more minimal intervention stylistic wines, as I feel that these producers generally speaking are now making wines that are a lot cleaner than before.” And this sums Italian and Sons nicely, with one foot firmly in the traditional camp and one striding confidently into the future.