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The Carney brothers

Meet Paul, James & Alec of Gemelli Italian.

The Carney brothers (image supplied)
The Carney brothers (image supplied)

Meet the three brothers behind Gold Coast cult-favourite Italian restaurant Gemelli Italian… oh and Gemellini, and Roy’s, and their latest Brisbane venture, Gemelli Italian James St! Do Paul, James & Alec really need that much more of an introduction? Famous for their Italian restaurant’s authenticity and wholesome food, we got to know the boys ahead of World Pasta Day on 25 October 2021. Get to know more about their local loves and a sneaky insight into their favourite dishes!

Tell us a bit about yourselves.
Alec & James (28) and Paul (32). We grew up in the Italian rich agricultural community of Griffith in NSW, so have always been surrounded by food and wine. We grew up making pasta sauce and salami every year, so we have had an amazing upbringing in that sense. Hence our passion for our culture and of course, the food that comes with it. We’ve all had times living around various places including going to school in Sydney. James and Alec lived in Sydney and Paul lived in London for a few years prior to all relocating to the Gold Coast – and shortly after starting Gemelli in Broadbeach!

How long have you been Gold Coast locals?
We all moved here back in November 2013, so it’s nearly been 8 years which is crazy! We definitely love being here and call ourselves locals now.

A classic Margherita, Gemelli Italian (image supplied)
A classic Margherita, Gemelli Italian (image supplied)

What do you each love the most about the Gold Coast?
Paul (P): We have some of the most beautiful landscapes here and all so accessible.
James (J): Laid-back lifestyle for sure. Having the beach a stroll away and how the Gold Coast people are is awesome.
Alec (A): How chilled it is as a city. I’ve lived in Sydney before and it’s too hectic, the pace of life is great here.

Tell us how your first venture, Gemelli Italian in Broadbeach, first came about?
J: I was running a restaurant back in our hometown of Griffith in NSW. Our Nonni (Italian grandparents) lived on the GC and we’d always come for holidays here. We saw a gap in the market and were young and hungry to do something! Looking back it was definitely a very gutsy move but being a bit naive and just passionate really helped us, we always had a vision and stuck to it.

What does a typical day in the life of each of you look like?
We try to get up early and get active – beach swim, gym whatever that may be. Then into work for the restaurant, be it in service or meeting with suppliers and staff; then back by night service! Can be very long days, but we love it.

Gemelli Italian, Broadbeach interior (image supplied)
Gemelli Italian, Broadbeach interior (image supplied)

What is your most popular dish across all restaurants?
A: Would probably say our Gnocchi. We hand-make it fresh every day and it’s amazingly soft. It has taken years to perfect it!

If you could only live off three Italian dishes for the rest of your lives, what would they be and why?
P: I’m pasta obsessed – so would have to be Rigatoni Amatriciana… classic dish in Rome and has all the goods you could ever want!
A: Seafood is a big love of mine. So I’d have to go with Spaghetti Vongole. When we were over in Italy, it was that most days for lunch in the hot sun. Just perfect!
J: For those who know – Granita e Brioche. It’s a Sicilian dish of brioche bread and granita which is a sorbet-like fruit. Use the brioche and dip into the granita….that for breakfast is heaven.

If you had to recommend just one Gemelli Italian pasta dish to order for dinner, what would it be?
Rigatoni Ragu – it’s just such a wholesome and delicious pasta. It’s our Nonna’s recipe and it reminds us of special family lunches on a Sunday where we would all get together.

We know a restaurant in Brisbane has been an aspiration of yours for some time, and now since recently opening, what’s next for the Carney brothers?
Try not to kill each other haha! No, it’s been amazing getting to Brisbane, it has been a dream of ours for a while now, and to have it come to life is special. Nothing set in stone but maybe a smaller project – still Italian, but something slightly different perhaps!

Gemelli Italian (image supplied)
Gemelli Italian (image supplied)

What are your Gold Coast favourites…
P: Espresso Moto is for sure. Always spot on, they do a great job in every aspect!
J:  Milkman’s Daughter is perfectly situated at the end of our street and I just love the food there!
J&A: Itoshin in Mermaid and The Tropic in Burleigh, basically two spots we frequent a lot haha
P: I’ve got a few I love – Lupo, Glenelg Public House, Jimmy Wahs, North Room and Rick Shores is pretty hard to beat on a beautiful day with a wine in hand haha
Bar or pub for a drink:
P: I like to keep it simple and local – a beer at Nobbys Surf Club is ideal.
A: Sitting outside Rick Shores with a Spritz in hand is pretty special.

How do you choose to spend your weekends?
P: We’re normally working to be honest haha! But downtime is definitely chill time and time to recharge the batteries. Relaxing at the beach, eating some nice food, maybe a few glasses of wine. And sometimes trying to get a round of golf in!

Gnocchi Zucca from Gemelli Italian (image supplied)
Gnocchi Zucca from Gemelli Italian (image supplied)

Alfresco Italian Restaurant

Elegant, coastal-inspired Italian eatery Orzo now open

Exciting news fresh out of Broadbeach today involving beloved Italian eats by people whose culinary talents have wowed us for quite some time already.

Yes friends, it’s a new Italian eatery adding to The Oracle Boulevard’s already thriving dining scene. Orzo, which translates to ‘barley’ in Italian, is the epitome of exceptional work by Social Eating House and Bar’s owner and executive chef, Matthew Jefferson, along with his wife Dayna who have gifted us with sophisticated coastal Italian cuisine.


Orzo (Image: © 2020 Inside Gold Coast)
Orzo (Image: © 2020 Inside Gold Coast)

And it absolutely delivers on all fronts.

Having only just opened in the last couple of weeks, Orzo exudes an elegant, relaxed vibe that’s also reflected in a menu that focuses on sustainable, local produce that will span lunch and dinner. Italian food all day long, what a treat.

The space itself is perfectly reminiscent of coastal chic with muted pastel tones, a curved wall and an open kitchen so you can watch the chefs work their magic. A wall filled wines, low lighting, gold and marble accents and light wooden light fixtures bring it all together and we are absolutely in love. You may choose to perch inside amongst all that beauty or outside in the fresh air to watch the world go by.

They said it would be the epitome of a coastal hug and that it absolutey is.

The menu features housemade pastas paying homage to southern Italy with mouthwatering dishes, all of which we would love to eat every day forever please.

To start, choose the House Made Foccacia with whipped ricotta and rosemary oil (to die for), the Fried Zucchini Blossoms with stracciatella, tomato and miso and vincotta (one of the most beautiful dishes we’ve ever sampled) and the Veal Carpaccio with tuna mayo, pickled onion, crouton and caper leaf (another life changer). Yes, all of them. Absolutely divine.

Pasta-wise, the Gnocchi with cherry tomato, basil and bush tomato was the fluffiest, most perfect dish of it’s kind we’ve ever sampled. The addition of a crunchy bush tomato concoction meant we wished it would go on forever. On the side add Heirloom Tomatoes with stracciatella, basil and olive oil and you will be one happy Gold Coaster.

There are mains along the lines of Pancetta Wrapped Spatchcock with chicory and grape and Pan Roasted Fish Fillet with sauce vierge with green olives and walnuts and of course, those are absolutely magical too.

There are also delights like house-cured meats and a variety of cheeses (AKA the love of our lives) so you might want to sample those too.

To drink, there are a beautiful array of Italian wines and beers and a list of cocktails that rivals any other.

The Negroni Orzo is perfection with strawberry gum, meletti and pandan and the Little Italy is obviously a delight with Aperol, vodka, lemon, mango and marjoram – the perfect summer sip. The entire list should be on your to do list of course.

So there you have it. If you’ve had the pleasure of experiencing the next-level goodness that is Social Eating House and Bar, you’ll know everything about it is unparalleled.

Make sure you get down there to experience it for yourself, Orzo is one of a kind and we are moving to Broadbeach now, good bye.

LOCATION: Oracle Boulevard, Broadbeach
HOURS: Daily from 12pm until late

Words and photos by Kirra Smith


Goccia Italian Pizzeria

As you’re no doubt aware, authentic Italian food is a gift from the Gods. What you may not know though is that, as of two weeks ago, the heavens have been smiling down upon Mermaid Beach and Goccia Italian Pizzeria is the result.

That’s right folks, an authentic Italian pizzeria, created by two bona fide northern Italians, is open for business and we suggest you jump on board that bandwagon quick smart.

The space has been decked out in an earthy colour palette and a vibe that can only come from passionate restaurant owners who really want to make you feel at home. And passionate is the only way to describe owners Ana and Loris, who quite literally handmade light fixtures and painted tables so Goccia was exactly what they wanted it to be.

The pizza oven is without a doubt the pièce de résistance. It shines proudly from the corner of the kitchen, boasting a six-pizza cooking capacity and a rotating stone shelf that ensures pizza perfection.

The idea was to create a venue with a fine dining touch but with affordable prices and something a little bit different to other Italian restaurants. The name Goccia means drop, Loris’ nickname and a cheeky reference to the traditional method of dropping tomatoes on a pizza base.

The menu is smaller than your average but filled with beautiful, top quality ingredients, many of which are imported from Italy.

Entrée’s and sides range from crispy calamari to Carpaccio di Manzo – raw eye fillet served with rocket and shaved parmesan and the prettiest of bruschetta.

Of course, there are pizzas but not just any old pizzas. Goccia’s are some of the most beautifully presented you’ve ever seen and the flavours, well, belissimo! They appear on the menu in their native dialect so it’s a good time trying to pronounce them. There are over 20 choices so you’ll need to choose wisely (or go back every day for a month).

For dessert, you’ll want to try the Frittelle Di Mela – lightly fried apple pastry served with vanilla gelato. It’s pure perfection.

Let us be clear, Goccia Italian Pizzeria is a must-visit, dining there is akin to visiting the home of your Italian neighbours whose only care in the world is ensuring you eat incredible food and have the MOST enjoyable time.

LOCATION: 2375 Gold Coast Hwy, Mermaid Beach (opposite Turtle Beach Resort)
HOURS: Monday and Wednesday 5pm to 9pm and Thursday to Sunday 12pm to 3.30pm and 5pm to 9.30pm

Words and photos by Kirra Smith

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