Take great Australian seasonal produce, give it an Italian twist, and that’s what you’ll find at Popolo in South Bank.

My mouth is watering at the thought of live red claw from Theebine in outback Queensland, tossed with clams, saffron, garlic and dill for a spectacular local version of the Italian classic, spaghetti allo scoglio.

Thanks to Popolo Italian Kitchen & Bar owners Andrew Baturo, Paul Piticco and Denis Sheahan, you can try this and more while enjoying one of Brisbane’s most relaxed views. I’m talking about the holiday-style ambience of South Bank’s River Quay.

With a passing parade of holiday-makers, exercise fanatics and people just relaxing with friends, this spot has great ambience.  And then there’s the view across the river. Blue sky days or at night with the twinkling city lights, there’s plenty to enjoy.

Popolo Head chef Daniel Cossart has sourced some top ingredients to add to Italian classics, while maintaining the shared dining ethos, just like nonna’s house.

“We’ve brought in Cape Grim beef to the menu as a bone in rib fillet, char grilled and sliced with blistered cherry tomatoes and 50 year old aged balsamic,” co-owner Andrew Baturo says.

“The beef has been dry aged for 40 days so it is melt in the mouth tender; and at 800 grams it is perfect for sharing,” said Andrew.

I’m all for sharing these large slabs of meat, allowing everyone at the table to enjoy the delicious flavour without a meat overload.

My all-time Popolo fave is the Kingaroy free-range suckling pig, Maialino da latte con pesche.  Also perfect for sharing, it comes with accompaniments that are a little different from the norm – spiced apple and peach compote, plus anchovy sauce – which go surprisingly well with the pork.

For dessert, try the Piatto di Dolce which includes two Zeppole al cioccolato,
 and a mini semifreddo all’amarena and Crostata ai fichi but it’s the sweet basil gelato that really gets my vote.

The Popolo bar team has also created some new cocktails including a Blueberry Bellini with prosecco, lemon and blueberry jam and A Mexican In Venice made with tequila, Aperol, agave and pink grapefruit juice.

When you feel like relaxing for a lunch, afternoon or evening with a great view and Italian-style food, Popolo has to be on your list.

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