China seems like an unlikely starting point for Ripiena, but it’s where Verona-native Nicolo’ Campagnari and Brisbane’s Anita Schenk first met. At the time, Campagnari was working in finance and Schenk was an exchange student. In 2018 the pair opened Brisbane’s first pasta laboratory, in Fortitude Valley.
Ripiena took over a street-level tenancy of the Alpha Mosaic building on the corner of Ann and East streets. Campagnari and Schenk completely fitted it out themselves, installing reclaimed timber benches, white tiles, and a giant neon tortellino to the back wall of small space.
Despite the neon, your focus is drawn to the open kitchen where Campagnari makes pasta on a big pine-wood table with an Imperia pasta machine, and rare tools such as a chitarra (used to make spaghetti). For his pasta, Campagnari either uses a soft Italian wheat Tipo 00 flour, or a combination of Italian and Canadian grains. Eggs come from Roseberry Creek in New South Wales.
The pair aim for complete authenticity with their pasta and sauces. For example, the tortellini is an original recipe from the Brotherhood of the Tortellino in Bologna. The bolognaise recipe comes straight from the Italian Academy of Cuisine playbook.
If you want to dine in, you’ll have to be quick as there are only 20 seats. Otherwise, you can buy fresh pasta and take it home to cook, or takeaway something from the menu to enjoy elsewhere.
The menu features three pasta lunga (long pasta) dishes including tagliatelle in a choice of bianco (butter and Parmigiano Reggiano) or bolognaise sauce. Then there’s the ripiena (filled) pasta dishes, which include pork loin, prosciutto and mortadella-filled tortellini in a choice of butter and sage or tomato sauce; and slow-cooked beef cheek filled agnolotti served in a reduced beef-cheek sauce.
Ripiena is BYO with $2 corkage, although those who bring in a Denominazione di Origine Controllata (DOC) classified wine get to skip the corkage charge.