First Look: Brick & Basil

Beatrice Smith and Ashleigh Went

It’s raining outside and the HerCanberra team are seated at a black and white tiled table groaning under the weight of an Italian feast.

Pizza topped with spicy salami and oozing mozzarella, a bountiful antipasto board with creamy cheeses and pickled artichoke, luscious nests of pasta covered with slow-cooked ragu and rich Carbonara. Hungry yet?

Around us, the mood is intimate and warm, with dark wooden tables and bentwood chairs on an Italianate tiled floor. Behind us, floor to ceiling shelves house all manner of bottled and preserved goods as well as cute bric a brac.

But this isn’t Nonna’s house or even a secluded bistro in Melbourne. It’s Erindale Vikings’ newest addition, Brick & Basil, and it is (understandably) the jewel of Vikings Group CEO, Anthony Hill’s eye.

“The experience of creating the restaurant was fantastic. It’s so exciting to see it all come together.”

For Anthony and Head Chef Ben Cridland, the concept was simple; create an escape for patrons that takes them out of Canberra and to the birthplace of some of the best food in the world.

“What we’ve done with our menu is have most of our entrées as shared dishes, then add some pizza and pasta, maybe some fried calamari,” explains Ben.

“It becomes quite a social experience. We’ve found that everyone enjoys sharing as they make their way through the list.”

For Ben, sticking solely to Italian cuisine was non-negotiable. Especially when it comes to their decadent dessert menu (more on that later).

But it’s not just the food that will pique visitors’ interest. The restaurant itself has been divided up into three sections, with the ground floor featuring large custom-made tables perfect for families, groups and events. Michelle explains they can even join the tables together for extra large groups (plenty of room for all your pizza and antipasto!).

Down a short flight of stairs, you’ll find a grouping of smaller tables—perfect for catch-ups over coffee and a little something from the dessert menu—while outside you’ll find an al fresco area straight out of a European summer.

Chic green and white chairs and tables allow you to take advantage of warmer days while a large white shade sail high above the area means you won’t have to head inside when the weather turns, either.

And in the cooler months? Sit around Brick & Basil’s elevated fireplace and warm your fingers while you sip something from their carefully selected wine list.

Shall we go back to those desserts? After making our way through the antipasti platter, pizzas and pastas, we came to what Ben had described to us as hands down their most popular dessert. In fact, it’s so popular that they routinely sell out of the dish. What is it? Doughnuts—just not as you know them.

No stale rings here, we’re talking about little struffoli spheres of delicate sweetness that melt in your mouth, with just a hint of lemon curd.

The creation of the struffoli was a true labour of love, with Ben testing and retesting recipes until they were perfected. Now, they’re a favourite among patrons—as well as staff—who dutifully taste-tested every early batch.

Proudly showcasing all house-made desserts – you’ll find both tiramisu and cannoli on the menu, the latter given a refreshing passionfruit twist. Crack the crisp mascarpone cannoli shell and savour the creamy passionfruit filling, zesty raspberry gelato and crumb. Every mouthful is an utter delight.

Even as we put down our cutlery in an act of surrender we couldn’t help sneaking in one extra last mouthful of a struffoli here, or just a sliver of sharp pecorino there, until the tables were swiftly cleared.

Erindale Vikings might not be the first place you’d expect to have an authentic Italian trattoria experience—but that’s exactly how it felt. We can hardly wait until our next sweet escape.

the essentials

What: Brick & Basil
Where: Erindale Vikings, 6 Ricardo Street, Wanniassa
When: Brunch from 11 am – 2.00 pm weekends, lunch Monday – Friday 12-2 pm and dinner seven days a week from 6-9 pm
Phone: 6121 2120

Photography by Tim Bean Photography

This is a sponsored editorial. For more information about sponsored editorials, click here.


Beatrice Smith

Bea loves that her job as HerCanberra’s Online Editor involves eating, drinking and interviewing people - sometimes simultaneously. The master of HerCanberra’s publishing schedule, she’s usually found hunched over a huge calendar muttering to herself about content balance. Otherwise, you’ll find her at the movies or ordering a cheese board. More about the Author


Ashleigh Went

Ashleigh Went has a passion for all things health and wellness. She’s currently furthering her studies in nutrition, but also has a Bachelor of Communication and is a qualified fitness instructor with over five years experience working in a gym. Among other things, she’s a lover of great food, coffee and fashion. She can usually be found shopping for activewear, in the gym or updating her Instagram @wentworthavenue More about the Author

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