Serious chefs turn to takeaway
The nation is in need of nurturing at the moment and these meatballs are comfort food at its best. Six orbs of well-seasoned, deeply flavoured pork and beef mince nestle in a rich tomato sauce ($15) topped with a dusting of parmesan in a plastic takeaway container on my dining room table, a product that was only available in the Gambaro family's Black Hide restaurants less than two weeks ago.
So much has changed so quickly. As the coronavirus crisis began to affect trade, Black Hide in inner-Brisbane's Petrie Terrace moved across Caxton St to share the premises with Gambaro's Seafood Restaurant. There they briefly combined menus before a national shutdown of restaurants now sees a joint menu, under the banner of Gambaro2Go, running out of a servery window on the front patio.
The menu is a combination of some of the most popular dishes from the various Gambaro restaurants, with consideration given to what will travel well. There are fresh oysters, bugs and prawns, as well as barramundi, salmon and fish of the day (either Nile perch or NZ cod), crumbed, battered or grilled, or in value packs with additional items such as calamari.
Pappardelle pasta with pork and beef ragu, which was a signature dish at the family's restaurant Persone in the City, is on the menu, as are Black Hide's short ribs, four salads, kids' meals and desserts (banana sticky date pudding or chocolate mousse). There's also a range of cuts of Stanbroke beef and frozen seafood packs to cook at home. Wine, beer and non-alcoholic beverages can be added to the order.
Customers can phone or order and pay online and collect from the servery, have the order brought to their car, or home delivered if they live in nearby suburbs listed on the company's website. I live outside the delivery area but pulling up out the front at 7pm is no problem as most businesses in Caxton St are closed. And while I wondered if there would be glitches with the online ordering, given it was only the operation's second day, my order was handed over exactly at 7 as I'd requested, just- cooked and hot.
After a 15-minute drive, the meatballs are in sterling shape, they're perfect for takeaway, and the serving size is very decent. The crumbed fish of the day ($9) is on a Styrofoam tray, then wrapped in butcher's paper to keep heat in but allow it to breathe. The fish (cod) holds up well. The chips ($5, small) are fine and there's quite a plentiful serving but the passage of time means they are slightly past their prime. The potato scallops ($2.50), on the other hand, are made for travelling, the crisp batter casing hanging tough while keeping the potato hot.
Linguine marinara ($22) also travels well, the al dente pasta weaving through a generous amount of garlic and chilli-sauteed prawn and fish chunks and mussels in their shells, with
a delicious light, tomato-based sauce bringing it all together. A scattering of pangrattato crowns the lot. A salad of broccoli, sweet potato and quinoa ($9) is also plentiful, fresh and as you'd expect, has no problem with going on a trip.
With easy ordering and pick-up and a vast experience in catering, Gambaro's seems to have got it right from the beginning. This is no easy feat in a landscape that changes by the hour but their quick reworking of their website, establishment of systems and choice of a reasonably straightforward menu that draws on the restaurant group's strengths is just right.
33 Caxton St,
Petrie Terrace, Brisbane
Phone orders, click and collect, drive-through and home delivery to Paddington, Red Hill, Rosalie, Milton and Petrie Terrace ($7.95 fee), Tues-Sun, 4.30pm-8pm
Originally published as Serious chefs turn to takeaway