Nativo Kitchen and Bar co-owner TJ Peabody has been to a lot of restaurants. As managing director of Craggy Range Vineyards in New Zealand, he spent 10 years advising eateries across the world on their wine lists.
In more recent years, Peabody has used this knowledge to start NKB group, opening a bunch of ambitious restaurants around Brisbane. NKB is behind Nickel Kitchen & Bar and gourmet fast food joint NKB Express. The latest addition is Nativo, which earlier this month moved into a space at Petrie Terrace’s Barracks, previously occupied by French Twist.
With the new restaurant, Peabody is trying to capture the generosity and familial warmth inherent in Italian food. “Our goal is to be there for whatever people need,” Peabody says. “We’re open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, seven days a week. Grab a late-night coffee and dessert, breakfast on the run or a big meal – we try to accommodate everyone.”
This is made clear by an extensive menu – more than a dozen appetisers, followed by five pastas and 10 pizzas. For the especially hungry there’s also slow-braised lamb and beef, roasted duck breast in cherry jus and a whole section just for veal scaloppini. “We can send our chefs to the markets and look for the best produce themselves,” Peabody says. “We’re also able to import specialty items straight from Italy. As much as possible, we want to give people the best of everything.”
Booze leans towards Italian wine, grappa and digestifs, although Peabody couldn’t resist adding a couple of bottles of Craggy Range to the list.
Nativo backs up the menu with a rustic interior, using to good effect the old Barracks building’s brick, exposed stone and beautiful large windows, and adding a feature mural and plenty of greenery (some doubling as herb gardens).