Delicious by name, delicious to the palate, it’s fabulous to have a great Italian restaurant on the southern end of the Gold Coast. Finally!
Delizioso opened in The Strand in early 2016, bringing modern Italian dining to Coolangatta. Snapping up an upstairs possie overlooking the beach, owner and multi-award winning head chef Brad Nascone says it’s a view that won him over at first glance.
“We’d been searching for a location for a second restaurant for some time. We almost opened another restaurant in Brisbane, but then this came up.” He waves his arm across the expansive view from the floor to ceiling glass. “Coolangatta is an untouched gem. We were shown other venues, but this is the one we wanted. It’s a great location with a fabulous view of the beach.”
Developing the venue with General Manager and Sommelier Nick Dempster, Brad has followed the same feel as their Bulimba restaurant, opened in 2011: heritage and warmth achieved through an intimate space, vintage posters and photographs on brick feature walls, lowered wood ceilings, highlights lit by chandeliers, comfortable seating – a mix of ‘sensible’ wooden chairs and bench seats and tableware chosen to complement each dish.
Fans of the Bulimba restaurant will also recognise many of Brad’s signature dishes – pizza (from the very pretty stone hearth Beech oven; one of the last made in Australia), pasta, contemporary mains from seafood, lamb shanks and pork belly to classic Italian fare such as chicken scaloppini. It’s these traditional dishes with a contemporary twist that have seen him featured in Gourmet Traveller and the Today Show.
“It’s the same menu we use at Bulimba,” Brad tells us. “Old recipes – you can’t mess with them. You have to keep it real. They’re traditional recipes as they’ve been made at home in Sicily for generations, but with a modern twist. We’ve worked on this menu for three years, so we know it works.”
Brad says that the menu has been embraced by locals who already have picked out their favourite dishes.
“We’re here for locals. Many people aim their business at tourists. They forget that it’s local trade that pays the bills. Tourist trade is the cream,” he says, giving recognition to the valuable bonus that tourism brings to the area.
Keeping locals in mind the pair have engaged in some discounting to incentivize local trade at lunch. The response has been great, with families travelling from Byron and Brisbane to dine. In fact, when we dine there are several large family groups celebrating birthdays, as well as groups of friends meeting over lunch.
“This is a place where you can sit and talk, have a nice bottle of wine, and enjoy good food with a good view overlooking the beach,” says Brad.
A nice bottle of wine…
Taking as much prominence as the kitchen in Deliziosa is the glass-fronted wine room, the obvious work of an aficionado and connoisseur: Nick. He tells me that he learned his craft as sommelier under Neil McDonald (Best Sommelier in the World, 1995), working at Hayman Island as Sommelier before Deliziosa on Oxford in 2011.
Delizioso’s 24-page long wine menu is a wine lover’s delight, featuring hard to find vintages from Australia, New Zealand, French champagne and a good swag of Italian varietals as well as local, international and Italian beers and liqueurs. The list is complete with region, country, vintage as well as tasting notes for each one. Of particular interest are the Dal Forno Romano from Veneto, one of the best Amarone Valpolicella in the world, as well as Brunello Di Montalcino from Tuscany, a region traditionally recognized for its Sangiovese.
Somehow we manage to order, though the wine list is mesmerizing and the food menu extensive, amazingly so! Italian cuisine is not generally considered gluten-free friendly, however we note on Delizioso’s menu that many dishes could be ordered DF or GF, including gluten-free pasta.
Our entrée, Capesante ($21.50), comes first, Half-shell medium-sized scallops served with champagne lemon butter, crispy prosciutto and breadcrumbs – a buttery yet different take on the usual scallop dish. Then the mains arrive: Porchetta ($35) with truffled mash, apple puree, rich gorgonzola cream and jus (Brad’s dish featured in the book ‘Flavours of Queensland’), and my dish of the day, perfectly al dente Linguini Allo Scoglio ($31), loaded with fresh local seafood then sautéed with garlic, chilli, parsley and white wine before being tossed through linguine. It’s zingy with flavours complementary to the seafood; light, fresh and uncloying.
Leave room for dessert, but with fourteen choices from Affogato to St Joseph’s Donuts, the choice will not be easy. We settle on Tiramisu, a splendid boozy version with a bite of maraschino cherries on top, its juices drizzling down over the sides. Generous enough to share, it’s one of the best we’ve tasted.
It’s been the perfect end to a delightful meal: delicious food, including an exceptional pasta, attentive service (not once did we feel either rushed or neglected), and an unsurpassed ocean view. What a great addition to the southern Gold Coast dining scene!
Level 1, The Strand Shopping Centre, 72 – 80 Marine Parade, Coolangatta Ph: 07 5536 9855
Open: Mon – Fri 10.30am – 11.30pm; Sat – Sun 7am – 11.30pm
Also at Oxford St., Bulimba.
NOTE: Good Food Gold Coast dined as guests of Delizioso.