By Lindsey Turnbull
There really isn’t anything much nicer than chilling at a restaurant in Camana Bay on a Friday evening, enjoying a glass of wine and nibbles while watching the world pass by, all set against the backdrop of the North Sound beyond. The Brooklyn Pizza + Pasta is therefore perfectly poised for such an evening, sitting as it does within the crescent of waterfront restaurants, beckoning diners in for a leisurely bite as they stroll by.
Even though we have lived here for far longer than Camana Bay has been around (yes, there was actually a time when Camana Bay didn’t exist!) I have to say this is not a restaurant at which I have ever dined, as the place always seemed to me to be a beacon for a younger crowd of diners. Indeed, it has been a favourite with my kids since they were teens, mac and cheese fritters their dish of choice (and pretty much the only thing they have ever ordered there, or so they tell me!)
So, it was with quite a good deal of interest that we stopped by for an early evening bite, just before our VIP viewing of the 1917 movie (which is definitely worth watching, by the way.)
Arriving just before 6pm, we had our choice of tables inside or out, so opted for outside by the greenery, the perfect spot to people watch without being obviously nosey. A nice breeze, a panorama of ocean and happy families and a cold glass of wine (Pinot Grigio) set the scene nicely, along with a flowerpot of warm bread.
A well-flavoured array of bruschetta, topped with wood-oven roasted tomatoes, grilled onion, lemon and shaved parmesan went well with the wine and whet the appetite adequately for mains. I noticed a couple next to us ordered the carpaccio flatbread, which consisted of beef, sautéed mushrooms, garlic, olive oil, arugula, shaved parmesan and lemon (according to the menu) and looked an equally tempting appetiser.
Had we been in the mood for a lighter meal, I think we might have chosen the Brooklyn butchers board, which consists of a selection of cured meats and cheeses, olives, pickled garden vegetables and assorted breads, which would probably have been a meal in itself yet appeared on the appetiser menu. That’s definitely our sort of Friday night dining.
Brooklyn Pasta + Pizza does offer some good menu choices other than what it promotes in its name, including a 12oz CAB striploin, grilled salmon, chicken parmesan and braised beef short rib, to name but a few entrées. Pizzas (which can be made with gluten-free crusts) are an obvious choice and please all tastes, with the classic margherita, pepperoni and Hawaiian everyone’s favourite, along with the slightly more unusual-sounding nacho pizza, with mozzarella, marinara chilli chicken, tomato, green onion, salsa, sour cream, Cajun guacamole and nacho chips. I also liked the sound of the ‘fun guy’ (‘fungi’, get it?) pizza of portobello, button and shitake, along with basil, truffle oil, shaved parmesan, mozzarella and parmesan cream sauce, but in the end opted for a comforting bowl of pasta. I considered the butternut squash ravioli but opted instead for the short rib pappardelle, which consisted of a house-made pappardelle, mushrooms, onion, fresh arugula, pecorino and red wine beef jus. It was delicious and to be honest, I could have eaten another bowl, but I guess if you leave wanting more then that is the sign of a good meal? The mushroom ravioli, complete with sautéed wild mushrooms, rosemary, white wine butter sauce, tempura mushroom was equally as good but equally not huge in its portion size. A pleasant surprise all round and definitely not a restaurant just for kids!