By Trevor Pepys
Trevor Pepys reviews 250 Grammi Food and Wine Bar
As by now you know, Trevor enjoys a gargle with his grub, and as a working diarist and semi-professional restaurant reviewer, he is not as well off in this time of Covid as, say, a bookstore owner or a surfboard retailer. So, therefore and ergo, his first question at any restaurant is, how much is the entry level wine, followed rapidly by, and will it stay down?
Alas there seems to be a growing trend around town away from the $25 quaffing house wine, for so long the salvation of the cash-poor, the wine-ignorant and those looking for a quick buzz rather than the heady and pungent aroma of the grape from the shady side of the hill, which is pretty much Trev in a nutshell.
This is my only real beef about 250 Grammi, the slightly poncey pizzeria on Gympie Terrace. Sure, the huge black and white mural of the chick on the Piaggio is squarely aimed at the Toorak cowboys, who now can’t get here, and the Marcello Mastroianni wannabes, and occasionally the cooler-than-thou service can be a little, ah, spiky, but the problem is that the wine list starts at $52, which, of course, is where Trevor begins the meal.
Moving quickly to the positive side of the ledger, the $52 Ca’ Di Frara Pinot Grigio, from the Bellani family’s century-old vineyard in the hills of Lombardy, is an excellent drop, for which you’d pay at least half the ask at retail, if you could find it, so no price-gouging here. They just need to think about the locals and offer a cheaper option.
This was Trevor’s first visit to 250 Grammi and, despite several positive recommendations, he and the missus did a walk-up knowing very little about the place and thinking that possibly it had loosely based its name on the title of an old Sean Penn movie. In fact, the first page of the menu explains that 250 Grammi is “the weight of the dough ball before its evolution”, meaning before it becomes a pizza. So, it’s definitely a pizza joint but also much more, as I read on: “The goal was to share with people Italian authenticity with a twist. No more main meals but a lot of different dishes to be shared, like an Italian Sunday lunch with friends and family.”
Trevor is a bit of a sucker for Italian authenticity with a twist, remembering well some wonderful family lunches with his friend Alessandro, at a long table overlooking the surf of Viareggio, when we’d all be authentically twisted well before sunset. So, let’s order.
Still reeling from the price of the wine, we opt to keep it simple and basic, just a pizza and a pasta to share. But then Mrs Tucker’s eye is caught by a choice of risottos that both sound delicious, so we go instead for the Risotto del Bosco ($25), with imported Porcini mushrooms, Italian sausage, Calabrese ‘nduja, and aged Parmigiano Reggiano, coupled with a Pizza Napoli ($26), Napoli sauce, fior di latte mozzarella, white anchovies, black olives, capers and oregano.
The pizza, a common or garden Napoli, was nothing to write home about, but the crust was crunchy and delicious and it was laden with olives, which had the missus swooning. The risotto, which looked like a plate of nothing much when served, as risottos often do, was nothing short of sensational, a brilliant combination of subtle flavours, set off by the spicy ‘nduja, which had Trev dreaming of days of old when travel was possible, and spicy sausage was cheap and plentiful from the Catalan coast to the Basque, washed down with a rough red out of a plastic bottle. But while the Spanish variants are similar in flavor and bite, I’d have to give ‘nduja the edge. This was a memorable risotto, and when I win Lotto, I’ll go back for another bottle of the Ca’ Di Frara and a Bosco risotto all to myself.
The verdict: With just a couple of low end additions to the wine list, this would be a good value eatery of distinction, in a cool space with river views.
250 Grammi Food and Wine Bar, 203 Gympie Terrace, Noosaville. Open lunch and dinner, bookings 5372 7644.