Like any good Italian, 1889 Enoteca is classic – it knows tradition never goes out of style. Bottles of Barbera and Sangiovese line the restaurant’s old shop front windows in Woolloongabba’s antique district. Inside, the red banquettes and timber tables fill with people throughout the night.
It took two years for owners Manny Sakellarakis and Dan Clark to restore the heritage-listed Moreton Rubber Works building, built in – you guessed it – 1889. The plumbing didn’t work and when the boys tore up the carpet there were 1950s newspapers hiding underneath. The restaurant eventually opened in 2008, introducing sophisticated Italian to the Brisbane dining scene.
It’s well known for its imaginative mains, but 1889 Enoteca serves up some of the best pasta in the city, paying respect to Rome. Ingredients in cacio e pepe have nowhere to hide – handmade spaghetti tossed with aged pecorino Romano, translating exactly how it should. Elsewhere, carbonara plays by the classic recipe – cured pork cheek, olive oil, black pepper and egg yolk, with not a lick of cream in sight.
In Italy, ‘enoteca’ means wine library. In Woolloongabba it does too: you can sift through an all-Italian wine list of imported, regional varietals, sourced from artisanal producers. Chances are you’ll drink something you never have before and aren’t likely to again – unless, of course, you go to Italy for real.