X5 2017 Masthead
Agostinis Antipasto Originale

First Look: Agostinis

Calum Stenning

You Had Me at Pizza.

Agostinis, the newest food offering at Kingston’s buzzing East Hotel, is about family. And food. The Italian heritage of the Bisa family, owners and operators of East Hotel, runs deep and it’s that quintessential culture that will be filling the void left by Ox Eatery and Bar in the East Hotel.

The space has been left curiously empty since the beginning of the year but we promise that the wait was worth it. The benefits of taking time, of lingering, is a theme that will run through the classic Italian offerings of Agostinis – this isn’t somewhere where food is rushed. Instead, it’s celebrated and savoured.

Kitchen from Hotel lobby

“Many of my happiest childhood memories are associated with my family coming together over food,” says owner Dion Bisa. “My mother is an incredible Italian cook and she was taught by her parents, so we have been fortunate to be surrounded by really authentic Italian food our whole lives.”

This is food for a long time and a good time. This is a place not just for Friday nights and hotel guests, but for family occasions.

FAMEG Bar Stools along Kitchen Counter

The limestone marble counter that runs the length of the open kitchen is veined with dolomite, whilst the copper light installations hanging above the entrance from the hotel lobby are complete with dolomite counterweights.

In the middle of the expansive open plan kitchen is an impressive pizza oven, imported from Italy. This isn’t a place that does authentic Italian with any less panache than their European relatives.

Pizzaiolos

Throughout Agostinis, starting with the softly enticing neon signage, Interior Designer Kelly Ross has included pink hues in the palette, pairing it with several shades of terracotta, which was an important export from Italy to Australia for decades, and brought to life by metallic gold touches such as in the limestone wall.

Mutina Puzzle Tile+Fabric

The carefully curated wine list at Agostini’s has been designed not to overwhelm, but to provide the best Italian wine experience possible with a balanced array of varietals from all over Italy, alongside a few Australian favourites, including Beppo’s Blend, a blend of Sangiovese, Nebbiolo and Barbera, three great Italian varietals, made especially for Agostinis by local wine guru, Bryan Martin from Ravensworth Wines at Murrumbateman.

 Antipasto Originale

Antipasto Originale

Aside from the classic pasta and pizza dishes, the menu will also feature old school Italian favourites and a special selection for the kids.

Melanzane Pizza

Melanzane Pizza

The menu is inspired by the traditional cuisine of northern Italy, with dishes such as Agostinis Antipasto Originale (Veneto salame, San Daniele prosciutto, Black Pepper Mortadella, Treccia mozzarella, olives and sourdough); Frico – based on Marisa Bisa’s own recipe, this is a typical dish from the Friuli region of Italy, with paper thin layers of Montasio cheese and potato, oven roasted to form a heavenly, crunchy, chewy morsel.

Fresh Paccheri

Fresh Paccheri

Paccheri Salsiccia di Maiale (tube-shaped pasta with Italian pork, fennel and chilli sausage slow cooked with tomato sugo) and Cotoletta alla Milanese – parmesan and thyme crusted 250gm veal cutlet served with a fennel and cabbage insalata.

Salt+Vinegar Patatine Fritte

Salt+Vinegar Patatine Fritte

“Inspired by the success of Joe’s Bar, what we envisioned was a beautiful, inviting space, with all the Kelly Ross magic, that would be gorgeous but accessible to all,” says Dion.

Dion Bisa, Dan Bisa, owner and director of Bisa Hotels and Kelly Ross

Dion Bisa, Dan Bisa, owner and director of Bisa Hotels and Kelly Ross

True to Dion’s wishes, Agostinis is set to be a true luogo accogliente, a welcoming place, filled with the soul of Italy.

View to Al Fresco Terrace

the essentials

What: Agostinis
When: Open seven days. Lunch 12pm-3pm, dinner from 5.30pm
Where: East Hotel, 69 Canberra Avenue, Kingston
Web: www.facebook.com/AgostinisItalian

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Calum Stenning

Calum Stenning is Her Canberra’s newest and most male (read: only) intern. Three years spent living overseas has given him a renewed appreciation for Canberra life. Every day starts with coffee and the Sydney Morning Herald crossword at a favourite coffee haunt, as he is wary of the perils of dementia, and thinks crosswords are a viable safeguard. If he lives to a dementia-appropriate age (evidence says he won’t), he’ll let us know. More about the Author

  • Tracey Banister

    Have tried twice and was left wanting both times. Plenty of other places in Canberra that beat Agostini’s. Here are a few ‘issues’ I encountered:

    1. I’m coming to eat, not for a language lesson.
    2. Waiting for my pizza 20 mins after mains arrived at the rest of the table is pretty poor.
    3. Pizza was dull and bland – certainly didnt live up to expectations.
    4. In my humble opinion, a ragu, means I might be looking forward to something hearty and full of flavour. Mushrooms chopped into pasta (from the taste, that was about it) doesn’t really cut it. Really disappointing.

    Can’t say I’d recommend or rush back. Staff and decor was great – just let down by the food.

    • Paul Foskett

      Dear Tracey,
      Thank you for taking the time to review your recent visit to Agostinis. We are disappointed to learn that your recent visit did not meet your expectations or the high standards we strive to maintain and appreciate the opportunity to address your concerns.
      While we know that there is never a second chance to make a first impression, we hope that you will give us another opportunity to gain your confidence in our capabilities.
      Again, thank you for sharing your feedback. You can be sure that we will use it to improve the experience we provide for future guests.
      Sincerely,
      Paul Foskett – Director of food and Beverage.