Our new Italian favourite
Wood fired ovens straight from Italy, hand-stretched 36-hour pizza dough, gluten-free options and market fresh ingredients – this newly opened Italian restaurant has a lot going for it. We had a chat to Head Chef Joey Goldman about his passion project, and why Casa Cibo is set to steal the hearts of Brisbane foodies far and wide.
So Joey, can you tell us a bit about Casa Cibo?
Casa Cibo means home food in Italian, and our vision for this restaurant is to make homely, authentic Italian food. We wanted to get back to basics and make this food as real as possible, so we had two handcrafted, wood fired pizza ovens shipped all the way from Italy. We’ve named them Massive Myrtle and Big Betty, and they’re the two hardest working women in our kitchen.
Our restaurant is split over two levels and seats 390 people, so we wanted to create a menu that’ll be appreciated by everyone from 3rd generation Italians to lovers of Domino’s.
And how did the first few weeks of being open go?
We’ve been much busier than we expected, which meant we came scarily close to a few pizza outages. Our pizza dough is a 36-hour process, so keeping up with the unexpected demand has been challenging! But we’ve had some really positive feedback, with plenty of people coming in for lunch and then returning for dinner the same day. We’re thrilled to be seeing regulars after just 4 weeks, which is something I haven’t seen yet in my career.
Can you tell us about your culinary background?
I’ve been a chef since I was fifteen years old, working throughout the UK and Canada before landing in Australia six years ago. When I arrived here, I got a call about opening the first Jamie’s Italian restaurant in Brisbane, and went on to run all six of Jamie’s venues across Australia. I learnt a lot from Jamie about his philosophy of food in that time, but when the opportunity came for me to design my own menu at Casa Cibo, I couldn’t pass that up.
Speaking of your menu, what are some of the most popular items?
Lately we’ve seen a lot of hype around our lamb ragu – people love it. We put it in our pizza ovens at 10pm and take it out the next morning at 8am which gives it an incredible slow-roasted flavour.
Our pizzas have also been a crowd favourite. Our dough is hand-stretched and about as close to what you’d find in Italy as possible. We’ve also made sure that they can be gluten-free so everyone can enjoy them.
That’s brilliant that your pizzas cater to gluten-free diners, is there anything else they can enjoy?
We’re very proud that about 80% of our menu can cater to gluten-free guests and people with other common food allergies. Our salads are made with things like buckwheat, and the majority of our pastas can be handmade with gluten-free ingredients as well.
We wouldn’t tell our guests this straight away, but all of our desserts are gluten-free, and we’ve worked very hard to make sure taste wasn’t compromised in doing that. I think we’re just about the only gluten-free tiramisu in Brisbane!
We heard you’ve also worked on creating a healthy menu for kids?
Our kids’ menu is something I’m most proud of. As a father of three kids, I wanted to create a menu of healthy meals that kids would actually want to eat. So we consulted a very talented nutritionist to create a balanced, but tasty menu.
We’ve got things like chicken strips that have been coated in corn flakes and baked instead of fried. We’ve also got chips on the menu, because I know if I put normal potatoes in front of my kids they’d prefer to throw them around rather than eat them – but we’ve really tried to create a healthy compromise.