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Wednesday 24 May 2017

Double trouble. Fun with an Italian accent in the national capital

A few nights ago I was one of a lively group dining at Canberra's lively family-owned trattoria Italian and Sons (below), feasting on several courses of rather excellent traditional Italian food served in a fun setting by well-informed and fun staff. 

The food was great and the almost all-Italian wine list (a selection of wines from Clonakilla the only exception) enticing. 

The following night, after my companions had departed, I dined solo at Mezzalira, also Italian, also owned by the same family, but a little more formal; with excellent food but more of a date-night vibe. The same impressive attention to detail, though. 

The two premium restaurants will this month kick-off a series of gourmet dinners to be called Due Mani (Two Hands), which will see respected Italian chefs Matteo Zamboni (Zambo, Sydney), Richard Ptacnik (Otto, Sydney) and Andreas Papadakis and Alberto Fava (Tipo 00, Melbourne) collaborate to create a series of one-off menus, each with an individual take on classic Italian cuisine. 

Both Canberra restaurants are owned by the Trimboli family. Their restaurant group now comprises award-winning Italian & Sons with adjoining wine bar, Bacaro (below) on Lonsdale Street in Braddon, refined modern-Italian Mezzalira on London Circuit in the CBD and neighbouring pizzeria Da Rosario. 

Owner Pasquale Trimboli saw the opportunity to celebrate Canberra’s flourishing dining scene by inviting some of the country’s most innovative Italian chefs to the capital.

“Australia has a unique heritage when it comes to Italian cooking, and it’s incredible to see an impressive crop of young chefs, each with their own take on traditions,” said Trimboli. “I look forward to opening both our restaurants, and our city, to them."

Kicking off Due Mani, Matteo Zamboni, executive chef and owner of Zambo restaurant in Sydney’s Surry Hills will join Italian & Son’s head chef Francesco Petrillo on Monday, May 29. 

Next up, from Sydney’s legendary long-lunch venue Otto, executive chef Richard Ptacnik will take a spot in the Mezzalira kitchen on Monday, July 10. He will join forces with Italian-born head chef Federico Ferrari. 

Waving ciao to the series will be the duo responsible for the hugely successful Melbourne restaurant, Tipo 00 - on a date yet to be confirmed. 

Reservations for Zambo and OTTO guest chef series are now available via or by calling  (02) 6162 4888. 

The Italian and Son dinners cost $90 or $130 including matched wines, with the Mezzalira dinner $110 a head for five courses or $150 with matching wines. 

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