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.
Andrea Contin and Valentina Vigni opened La Lupa Pizza Bar to celebrate their Italian heritage, but also to move forward, to redefine where necessary. Situated in Brisbane’s West End at the base of the Light + Co. apartment building, which was built on the site that provided the gas for Brisbane’s gas street lighting back in the day, La Lupa shatters much of the zealous dogma about pizza. Vigni’s inspiration is Rome, not Campania, and much like Contin’s approach to the naturally themed wine list, she shuns additions, preferring long, natural ferments for her dough.
Eschewing the belief that all pizza must use Tipo ‘00’ flour, Vigni prefers organic, stone-milled Tipo ‘1’ flour, which is less refined and maintains more nutrients from the germ. She also naturally ferments the dough for 60 hours, making the pizza bases more digestible and the nutrients move readily absorbed. All fresh produce is locally sourced, but she still defers to Italy for tomatoes and some cheeses. Accompanying the pizza, the menu drifts into some classic territory (cacio e pepe, vitello tonnato, cotechino), with perhaps the crowning glory a majestic rendition of that great Tuscan T-bone, bistecca Fiorentina.
The menu is based on meticulously sourced ingredients, favouring sustainable, organic farms, with the couple even supplying their own eggs. And the wine follows a very similar path, with Contin favouring producers with a focus on sustainable viticulture and minimal-intervention practices. The duo also regularly import shipments of wine from Italy and elsewhere in Europe, with their own selections supported by like-minded local producers and importers. The list runs to around 120 wines, with 15 by the glass and another 29 premium pours offered courtesy of Coravin. Beyond wine, there is a significant collection of artisan amaro, vermouth and grappa on offer, as well their signature La Lupa ‘vintage’ Negroni.