PROFILED BY DE GROOTS MEDIA
The Roman Empire Bar and Restaurant has been serving up traditional Italian cuisine since 2000. Chef Donato Laurito said when they first opened customers were reluctant to try the Italian breads and olive oils, and he remembers many a request for vegemite sandwiches. The same is true for Pinot Grigio, apparently he couldn’t give it away back then but currently its very en vogue. The owners – a typically large and happy Italian family – all work in the restaurant. Bread, pasta and some desserts are made daily by Mama Laurito. I can attest to the deliciousness of the celebration cake – bands of rich chocolate custard layered between sponge. The fresh pasta dishes include sand crab cannelloni, and ravioli that is prepared each day.
Fettuccine al Pollo is an old favourite on the menu, but new additions like the Sicilian spaghetti tossed with spicy Italian sausage, chilli, olives, capers and capsicum are gaining popularity. Seafood is sourced locally and includes Moreton Bay bugs, scampi, swordfish, barramundi and snapper. Traditional pizza features simple fresh toppings on homemade dough. The restaurant is licensed and Donato is happy to help choose an easy-to-drink Italian wine to match your meal. (According to him, Italian wines are preservative free and will not give you a hangover). They also sell Italian beers, after-dinner drinks including grappa and exceptionally good coffee. Donato agrees that decor is looking tired and assures me it will be undergoing refurbishment in the next few months.