It's a pretty clever name and the new sophisticated d้cor at what used to be Feast on Cambridge Street is also very pleasing. My six year old complemented the owners on the new chairs before my eldest daughter asked if Minions was playing in the sound-proof playroom (it was).
Welcome to FBI, and while the name doesn't give many clues away, this is a very traditional Italian restaurant. Cool and modern, but still with proper Italian flavours and techniques from the wafer-thin pizza crust to the handmade gelato.
We visited on a weeknight and even though we had managed to mess up our reservation and still arrive half an hour late, the staff were nothing but polite and friendly. We were offered our choice of table, our daughters shown to the playroom and menus distributed. Throughout the night, the service continued to be excellent, always trying to please without ever being intrusive.
Most of the full FBI menu is available as takeaway at slightly reduced prices, including pizzas, pasta and a range of meat and seafood dishes. While the mains include options such as burgers, stuffed zucchini, cacciatora and scaloppine we were there for pizza and pasta.
There are ten pizzas to choose from, all one size (that would serve one or two as a main) and ranging from the $18 Margherita to the $25 Salmon or Meat Lovers Pizza.
I wanted to try the most intriguing pizza on the list: the $23 Pizza Rossini which came with tomato sauce, mozzarella, slices of boiled egg and aioli. It's safe to say I have never seen anything like it, and I really enjoyed it. The beautiful lady who served us explained that in Italy, they have many more options and flavours that are commonly served, with more adventurous combinations than perhaps we are used to.
The base was thin and crispy and the toppings were simple and not overloaded. My husband's Meat Lovers pizza was equally tasty with bacon, ham and salami and a little bowl of BBQ sauce provided on the side as a thoughtful touch.
The pasta menu is small with only seven dishes and none of them are spaghetti bolognese. You can however get penne ragu (a tomato based meat sauce) lasagne and cannelloni. I would thoroughly recommend one of the three gnocchi dishes though they are made fresh in house and are incredibly light and fluffy.
My husband has hated gnocchi his entire life, yet he ate most of my serving of Gnocchi White Winter ($25) which came with zucchini, garlic and a cream sauce. Funnily enough, he always hated zucchini too, which speaks volumes about how delicious this dish was. I will definitely be returning again for another helping (and keeping it all to myself).
You may be surprised at some of the gelato flavours
The 'I' in FBI is actually gelato which is made in-house using fresh ingredients such as milk, eggs, fruit and vegetables. The flavours will vary when you visit, but you will almost certainly see something unexpected like avocado gelato or kiwi and spinach, both of which taste exactly like you would expect. My daughters both had a scoop of 'Smurf' which was bright blue as expected, but (luckily) tasted more like bubblegum than a little blue guy who doesn't like wearing shirts.
You will also find more traditional flavours such as coffee, chocolate, passionfruit and Bounty. You can either have the gelato on its own ($5 for one scoop or $8 for two) or have them as part of an extravagant dessert such as the 'bomb' which is handmade donuts filled with scoops of gelato, cream patisserie and chocolate cream ($18) or a house-made pannacotta with granola, berries and chocolate cream ($19).
FBI is definitely family-friendly their kids menu is quite small and covers breakfast through to dinner, but with pasta and pizza and ice cream on the menu, not to mention the sound-proof playroom, it is certainly the type of place parents can relax over a glass of prosecco or a specialty cocktail, while the kids amuse themselves safely elsewhere.