Tours of Tuscany

Tours of Tuscany
Join this small group tour and immerse yourself in the current of sensation for a week of food, wine and culture in Tuscany.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Bella Cosi Modern Italian Restaurant

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James McLean bursts out of the Bella Cosi restaurant kitchen with a happy grin on his face. He is a person at ease in his environment. Calm, almost laid-back one would think, despite the clearly busy scene within the front-of-house. He is the perfect embodiment of a young chef who has found his place in life!

McLean, who came to Brisbane from Cairns, has been working with Italian food for eight of his 13 years in the profession. He completed his apprenticeship at La Fontana, and then worked as head chef at Al Porto, Matilda’s Restaurant at Dunwoody’s before taking up a position at Mangostin’s for a few years. He recalls these positions with a wide smile. He was then finally attracted to Bella Cosi in Chermside.

The restaurant’s quality-for-cost is a distinguishing factor as it has become established on the north side of the city.

The day-to-day experience of running this fine little restaurant is handled by James and enables him to create a rather unique Italian scene. He relishes the opportunity of taking all his Italian cooking skills and mixing them into the dishes which he prepares which make up the tantalising and fairly extensive Italian menu which he shares. Customers are particularly drawn to James’ special Scallopini Al Fungi (main, $28.50).

James, who is trained to create the simple but effective flavours of traditional Italian food really enjoys the delights of risottos and pastas. A quick look at the décor of the restaurant shows again the simplicity and style of the dining experience offered by the outlet: uncluttered, good dinnerware, white napkins, no fussy centrepieces can get a foot in the door here – the focus is on food. The minimalistic décor, simple lines and interior colouring, which includes the traditional Italian red, is neat, streamlined with a special ambience in the evenings created by candlelight and good choice of traditional and contemporary Italian, Latin and soul music. He has recently launched a specifically Italian range of wines.

‘I’ve taken the best of the Italian food range, given it my own favoured twist and happily offer it to our clientele. The newly created Italian menu is really comprehensive. Yet James says that the restaurant is prepared to look after local corporate groups who need a standard Aussie breakfast for a quick brainstorming session before getting to the office. To date the restaurant is wearing the global economic scenario well as the word spreads regarding good value for money. By way of example, the main dish of Prawn & Mushroom Risotto – fresh prawn cutlets, saffron, button mushrooms and pine nuts finished with Parmesan cheese and herbs at $18.50. Bellissimo! The number of satisfied diners rises daily.

‘I love working with seafood’ says James and his tasty Risotto di Mare bears witness to this statement – sauteed fresh black mussels, Mooloolaba prawns, baby calamari and swordfish goujons finished in white wine with Napoli sauce and herbs. ‘Once you have good quality ingredients as your basis, you know their worth and you don’t have to play with them too much when cooking.’

James took up the position at Bella Cosi to bring quality dining to the North side and to share his passion for exceptional food, wine and service with like-minded people of all ages. There is no need to travel far and wine for great food as Bella Cosi is conveniently and centrally located in the heart of Chermside.

James and his team look forward to your visit. Benvenuti!
Phone: 3123 5678