Bocca Italian

Italian-Style at Bocca Italian

Image source: Contributed

Tony Cox previews the next Hello Sunshine Wine Lunch that promises to be a formidable feast! 

We all love everything Italian when it comes to food and wine. We all love a Tony Kelly restaurant. Bocca Italian, in Bokarina Beach, is the latest edition to the formidable Tony Kelly Restaurant Group and as the name suggests, it very much channels an Italian theme. 

Seating is mostly communal with long tables made for sharing and a number of high bars offering a look directly into the heart of the action, the kitchen or bar. 

Since opening only a few months ago, the restaurant has been firmly embraced by the Sunshine Coast community for its no-fuss, full-of-flavour Italian fare created by Executive Chef and part-owner Harry Lilai who brings his Italian and Albanian heritage and significant experience to the table. 

Pizzas and Pane (bread) are Al Forno – from the oven – but not just any oven. A stone-based Moretti pizza oven imported from Italy puts the perfect puff edge and crispy bottom to bases that have been fermented for 24-48 hours before being hand stretched by expert pizzaiolos. 

Simple and authentic toppings deliver the finishing touches. The rest of the menu reads like a traditional Italian trattoria with Pasta e Risotti; Salumi e Formaggi (cheese); Antipasti (small plates); Secondi (large plates); Contorni e Insalate (sides and salads) and traditional Dolci (desserts) to finish. 

The service is friendly, fast and furious and run by industry stalwart and part-owner, Luke Stringer, who cooked up the idea, inspired by a Tuscan holiday. 

Completing the picture is a Market Wine Store next door. The independent bottle shop features harder-to-find smaller wine producers from around Australia, including a selection of Australian-made Italian varietals chosen specifically to match the Bocca kitchen. 

And that’s where the real fun begins! 

In a feast worthy of an afternoon siesta, Bocca will team up with Convivium Wines, a Buderim-based bespoke importer of boutique Italian wines, to showcase some of the stunning regional wines that Paolo Sandri imports.

The food will be served share-style where you help yourself to dishes placed in the centre of the table, a much more interactive and Italian way to eat.

Matching the rolling feast will be wines from various regions of Italy.

To start, the Colesel Prosecco Valdobbiadene Superiore Brut DOCG hails from Veneto in north-east Italy and is fresh and fruity on the nose with subtle bead. The freshness flows onto the palate with a dry finish to conclude. Perfect for the salty goodness of mixed marinated olives and the most talked-about bread in Australia. 

The wine and food will keep flowing with the next options offering no wrong choices. The first still wine option is the La Ginestra Pinot Grigio from the Collio region, also in north-east Italy. Cold fermented to maintain freshness it features floral notes and apple and pear nuances with a decided minerality to close. A perfect all-rounder that will keep your palate fresh with the assorted antipasti of beautiful burrata and bresaola, with the truffled mushrooms.

The alternative Funaro Rosato is made from Nero d’Avola grapes grown in western Sicily and is organically farmed and produced. It is made with a very brief period of skin contact, 2-3 hours, with the wine chilled to 15 degrees in stainless steel to maintain fruit flavours. Think red fruits, medium bodied, low tannin due to the short maceration period and refreshing acidity. I don’t know about you but does this even require food? Infinitely drinkable, we could sit on this all afternoon.

Now that the last vestiges of winter are passing, now is probably one of the few times we can enjoy a drop of red in suitable climatic circumstances. What better way to conclude winter than enjoy Lorenzo Manfredi’s Governo Rosso Toscana, a rich red from the Florentine Hills made predominantly from sangiovese with a little merlot. The wine sees the addition of slightly dried grapes creating a rich, plush, full wine with balanced tannins. Perfect for Pappardelle ai Funghi or Paccheri al ragu (lamb ragu no less!). The finale will end on a sweet note with Panna Cotta – Caramelised honey, sea salt, puffed grains. 

Bocca, (bóc·ca) is Italian for ‘mouth’ and I reckon yours will be watering – or cursing if you miss out.



About the Author /

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After 25 years of sniffing, swirling, spitting and slurping various vinous temptations our wine writer has decided that his future lies firmly planted on the consumption and storytelling side. Tony not only still enjoys consulting about wine and other beverages but is now part of the successful Kate Cox Real Estate Team at Reed & Co. Estate Agents.

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