But I've gotten ahead of myself... After drinks at Bubbles on Cove, we hightailed it to Ioesco before our stomachs started to digest themselves - for all the complaining that men do about how long it takes us to get ready - we were at the bar on time, and still waiting over half an hour later for the Metrosexuals to arrive... but gee they were handsome when they finally made it!
Service at Ioesco was swift and friendly, drink orders taken the instant bums were on seats and delivered soon after. Big tick there, and many more to follow throughout the night.
We started with breads to share - Foccacia Rosso and Foccacia Bianca, a wonderful example of traditional Italian baking. The Bianca was lovely and crisp, garden herbs and olive oil scattered with a generous sprinkle of sea salt that was deliciously moreish. The Rosso was slightly more chewy with an obviously house-made tomato sauce that was incredibly rich and sweet. Of the two, I was completely won over by the Bianca and will be tweaking my own Garlic Pizza Bread recipe accordingly...
My only complaint of the night would have to be the size of the servings. They were HUGE. Most of our table ordered the Calamari starter which was fried Mediterranean style and served with Aioli and Garden Salad. This dish was larger than any Calamari dish I have ever seen served in Brisane - and I'm comparing it to Main Courses. Much too generous, they could have halved the serving and we all would have felt that it was still a great value dish.
I couldn't go past the Mushroom Aracini with Rocket Salad and Olive Tapenade. They were divine. 4 balls of perfectly crumbed Mushroom Risotto with a molten Mozzerella centre. The rocket was fresh and peppery and the punchy olive tapenade home made. Again - my only complaint was the size of the dish. While it looked substantial but do-able, I think they must have expanded in my stomach because by the time my main course arrived I could barely find the room to pick at it. Such a disappointment.
My main course, Linguini with Moreton Bay Bug and Brandy Tomato Cream) was gorgeous and while I was curious as to how they could serve what sounded like such a rich sauce with the delicate Moreton Bay Bug - I needn't have worried - it was perfection. The Bug was more like Yabbies, small and very sweet moresals tossed through perfectly cooked linguini. The sauce was light but with enough flavour of the Brandy and Tomato to complement the dish.
I've said it before and I'll say it again... there is always room for dessert! By this stage, I was grateful I was wearing a loosefitting top and my boss had already released her newly pregnant tummy Frank Barone style. There was no doubt about it. WE. WERE. FULL.
And then the Waitress brought the Dessert Menu... End of Story.
We ordered the Sticky Date Pudding (to share) which was sensational. It was without a doubt, the lightest, fluffiest, Sticky Date Pudding I have ever had. The sauce was perfectly caramelised and the Vanilla Bean Ice cream had those gorgeous black flecks that just scream quality. We fought each other bite for bite and the Boss lady looked genuinely disappointed when it was all gone.
Although it took us another hour or so and a Peppermint Tea to summon the strength to leave - this Restaurant is a real find and I will definitely be bringing hubby back here for a nice, romantic dinner...
The Verdict: Wonderful, authenic Italian. A very classy venue with fantastic customer service and even better food, but they really need to address their portion sizes.
Recommendations: I'm a big believer in Chef's Specials and Ioesco is no exception. Make sure you leave room for dessert - the Sticky Date Pudding is out of this world.
3a Masthead Way
07 5577 8800