With a couple of family birthdays taking place over the holidays, January was a good time to assemble for dinner together. Having dined at Capitol before (in fact, it’s been nominated for TAWAs multiple times), I wasn’t put off by its Flash website or that they don’t take bookings for groups smaller than eight.

As it happens, I was only the second person in the restaurant on a Thursday around 6pm. I order a Negroni (which comes on the rocks rather than at a martini glass), and peruse the simple menu. The place quickly filled up and the chatter makes it quite loud, especially given one group has chosen to bring along a toddler who decides to scream for a while (*Insert standard rant about how kids probably don’t belong in small restaurants where mains are over $30*).

Still, the staff are attentive, and our water glasses kept nice and full, and brought us our wine pretty quickly. We decided to order four entrees for the six of us – the pea ravioli with buttered artichokes (deliciously buttery and perfect pasta), the fried squid with aioli (crispy and not at all rubbery) and two servings of the ricotta-stuffed zuchini flowers with smoked eggplant and pancetta. OH. MY. STARS!

These were amazing, crispy, salty, creamy, smokey, so many things going on and working in beautiful harmony together. A little pricey for the amount on the plate at $22.50, but worth every penny. Capitol portions really aren’t large, and the sides aren’t very exciting, but it does mean it’s easy to eat three courses. So we moved on to mains.

The pappardelle with rabbit, veal, broad beans and sage ragu was luscious, rich with flavour and chunks of unctuous meat that melted in the mouth.The pappardelle was cooked perfectly, and oh, I could just eat plates and plates and plates of this all day. In fact, I was so preoccupied with it that I forgot to steal mouthfuls of my companions’ dishes, but they were well-pleased with their steak (served with lentils, which made me laugh), duck and pork.

Desserts were hard to choose, but I decided after the richness of the ragu that I would go for something a little lighter than the soft-centred chocolate pudding. Lemon mousse was light and zingy, perfectly contrasted with the berry compote served alongside it. Again, portions were small for $14.50, but perfectly formed. All up, our bill was around $540 for drinks, three bottles of wine, five entrees, five mains and six desserts. Not a cheap night, but it was lovely nevertheless!

Capitol’s food is fairly simple, but put together beautifully. The space is small, but the toilets smell amazing (like cinnamon) and the staff have the right balance between friendly and professional. It’d be a great place to have a date, or a family get-together – just leave the toddlers at home please.