Patanella Cafe

325 Argyle Street, North Hobart
03) 6234 7443
Open: Tuesday to Friday 7.30 am to 3.00pm; Weekends 8.30am to 4.00pm. Takeaways.

Who has ever heard of a crowd-funded café? Or one with ‘Wog brekky” and “Kick Arse gnocchi” on the menu? Or where a chaotic jumble of road signs, twee teapots, fashion dummies and mismatched furnishings pass as décor? And where else have you seen a café simply described as “happy”? Add in heaps of smiles, great coffee and good Italian food and you’ve got Patanella, a hidey-hole café that used to be the Smith Street Store.

The only disappointment at a recent lunch was that Mama Rosa, the apparently irrepressible former comedian, performer and now owner, Rose Ottavi–Kokkoris, had a rare day off. Instead we were waited on by Izzy, Rose’s delightful niece, who was thrilled when she saw the wine we were drinking was from her home town in Montepulciano, Italy.

Catching up with Rose later, she said “patanella” – little pumpkin – was her family name as she was growing up and that her Italian mother, in the 60’ and 70’ ran two milk bars in Hobart and taught her everything she knows about food. Which explains the authenticity of the printed and blackboard menus offering something for everyone except, maybe, the person curious for fresh insights into Italian cuisine. What you get instead is authentic Italian mama’s comfort food, with everything made in house and lovingly cooked with care.

We started with a bowl of Central Italy’s famed stracciatella soup which was a light and wondrously flavoursome chicken stock with all the proper little things including strings of egg.

Then to follow , the Wog Brekky – toasted pida with salsa verde, crispy proscuitto, greens, fried egg and picked onion – was a must as were the ‘kick arse’ gnocchi, mine with a lovely creamy pesto sauce and my wife’s with a very good Bolognese.

In conclusion spinach and ricotta ravioli tossed in a butter, lemon and white wine sauce and hand made pappardelle pasta with a creamy spinach rocket chicken and pine nut sauce. The hand made pasta is exceptional and Chef, Lisa Quinn, does the various pastas more than justice with her ingredients and sauces. It is all really very very good.

You will have the opportunity of meeting Rose in her “Mamma Rosa” character and taste some of her food at the Huon Valley Winterfest in July. She also runs cooking classes and on some Saturday nights you can be treated to a special $80.00 pp dinner.

Stracciadella $12.00; Wog brekky $16.00; Gnocchi $17.00; Pappardelle $18.00

in Recent reviews