The Carney brothers, owners of Gemelli, waited some time before opening their second venue, Gemellini. But the wait was well worth it! Nobby’s ‘Little Twin’, as the name means, is a more relaxed and intimate venue than its older more worldly-wise Broadbeach sibling.
Feeling fashionably well-established, the venue yawns back lazily from the street, a deep narrow space which stretches in past the bar and high-seat dining to more comfortable tables towards the back.
As tribute to its heritage, all eyes are drawn to the kitchen rather than the bar, the huge pizza oven vying for focal point with an overhead charcuterie cabinet holding legs of prosciutto that hang languidly from its roof.
In a carefully age-adjusted venue, a modern take on the established Italian eateries of capital cities, the illuminated still life of hanging smallgoods is a stroke of brilliance. It’s a visual reminder that food is the priority here, accompanied by wine (rather than the other way around).
Divided into Antipasti, Pizze, Pasta and Dulce, the one-page menu carries no grand surprises. Then again, it doesn’t set out to do that. It’s essentially a pizzeria, pimped up with the Italian regional favourites we’ve come to love, cooked from the brothers’ nonna’s recipes. Here we see the place heritage holds in their heart: arrosticini from Abruzzo, polenta topped with 8-hour-cooked beef cheek ragu; magnificent arancini filled with asparagus, pea and reggiano, served with a salsa verde…We could dine very well on the antipasti alone.
But as the aromas of Italy float out of the kitchen to bind our conversations together, we know that our lust for pizza must be satisfied. From the dozen or so pizzas on the menu, we choose a deceptively simple Funghi Bianca. Topped with creamy Fior de latte, marinated mushrooms and white truffle oil, it’s an indulgent treat to share. Traditional creamy-topped pizza packed with flavour, perfectly matched with a smooth glass of Montepulciano from the King Valley… Somehow the world seems a whole lot more grounded and wholesome.
Beside us, a couple are tucking into a slow-cooked bolognaise-topped pasta, but we’ve chosen Spaghetti Pescatore, one of our favourite dishes, this version crammed with king prawns, fish, vongole and calamari, lightly dressed with olive oil and a touch of chilli.
There’s just a little room left for dessert. We skip over the inter-regional Ricotta and lemon tart to try Bomboloni – not the tiny balls we’re expecting but great big blousy balls of donut spilling over with a Nutella and mascarpone filling. Thankfully we share one! Even polishing off my half, I think I’ve died and gone to heaven. Absolutely breathtakingly yummo! Dripping down my fingers, around my mouth, not a drip of the chocolate goes to waste.
Eating is a very personal, intimate experience, especially shared with the one we love, and Gemmellini captures that spirit beautifully. Lowered black ceilings, dimmed lights, sexy leather apron clad waiters, and delicious modern Italian favourites in a timeless setting… We’re whisked away to times past when extended families enjoyed this food around communal tables as we are enjoying it now. Our appetites and senses appeased, life is as it should be. How could we not fall in love with Gemellini!
Note: Gluten-free pizza is available upon request. Vegetarian dishes are clearly marked on the menu.
2247 Gold Coast Highway, Mermaid Beach Ph: 07 5575 1418
Open: Tues – Sun 5.30pm – late