This Brisbane newcomer is home to some of the city’s most sophisticated modern Italian fare, which can be ordered in the restaurant or wine bar, where extensive salumi and cheese menus will otherwise keep you occupied.
The nuts & bolts
Owners Andrea Gatti and Lauren Smith, both previously of Hellenika Restaurant in Brisbane, took last year’s national lockdown as an opportunity to redesign their future, allowing their life-long dream of working in their own restaurant to become a reality. Rosmarino, the Italian translation of the quintessential Mediterranean herb rosemary, opened its quaint front door in July 2021.
The 123-year-old Stewart and Hemmant building in Fortitude Valley has been restored to its former glory, now serving as a home to this elegant restaurant. The dining room resembles one you might have found there in 1898, yet with an assured air of modern sophistication. The short steps up into the long, narrow room immediately remove you from the street noise and into a classic space with charming European design. The (rosemary) green-accented interior, exposed heritage-listed brick walls and enclosed courtyard create an immediate warmth that sets the tone for the offering that ensues.
Head chef Dario Manca uses ancient recipes and pairs them with modern cooking techniques to create beautiful, bold dishes, such as dry-aged Maremma duck served on potato puree with arancia sauce and amaretti crumble. The menu often calls for bold red wines, while still leaving space for Franciacorta and light whites with panzanella scallops, or caprese salad with strawberry jus.
Andrea and Lauren work on the floor with restaurant manager Matteo Andreotti and head sommelier Nathan Hurst, who keeps a composed list that deeply explores Italian regions and the rich diversity of native varieties – lovers of nerello mascalese, for example, will feel at home. There is also enough Champagne and Burgundy to satisfy those wishing to step out of Italy, along with a modest nod to the New World. “Beyond that, we ask to see wines that are sustainably produced, but we are finding that organic and biodynamic wines are more and more common, as producers understand their importance,” Hurst explains.
The wine list can equally be enjoyed in Rosmarino’s bar, where salumi and cheese plates are the perfect grazing options for exploring the succinct by-the-glass list or the more premium Coravin offerings of the moment. Service reflects fine-dining skills executed with an effortlessly friendly approach, completing a package that makes Rosmarino a more than welcome addition to the Brisbane dining scene.