We got a puppy last week, and here’s what they don’t tell you… You get…
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.
“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.
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.
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.
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.
Aside from the classic pasta and pizza dishes, the menu will also feature old school Italian favourites and a special selection for the kids.
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.
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.
“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.
True to Dion’s wishes, Agostinis is set to be a true luogo accogliente, a welcoming place, filled with the soul of Italy.
When: Open seven days. Lunch 12pm-3pm, dinner from 5.30pm
Where: East Hotel, 69 Canberra Avenue, Kingston