When a younger sibling is as bolshy and bombastic as Testun, it’s easy for the eldest in the family to fly a little under the radar.
On the face of it, you’d almost be surprised that relaxed trattoria Threecoins & Sons is owned by the same family as the irreverent one year old wine bar, barely a block away, that boldly declares “Ciao stronzi!” at its entryway.
Having just celebrated a decade of comforting homestyle Italian dining, Threecoins is taking a leaf out of the Testun playbook and re-emerging into the limelight – officially joining with its sibling, and with a reinvigorated approach to what traditional Italian cooking can be.
“We’ve had the business for ten years,” explains Testun and Threecoins owner and head chef Frank Trequattrini. “It was already a restaurant before that, and we didn’t do too many changes at the time.”
The impetus for the update encompasses both the practical, organisational necessities of merging the two businesses – as well as gaining a fresh perspective on the traditional offerings of the restaurant, with his energetic Testun co-head chef Chris Caravella officially joining the Threecoins ranks alongside Testun sommelier Antonio di Senzo.
“Last year was a bit weird in a way, because it was me, Chris, Antonio and my wife Katia at Testun, and here it was me, Katia and my dad, and we were trying to run both operations, running back and forth.”
“A practical business decision, but we wanted Chris and Antonio with us here. And the place itself needed a revamp after ten years. Threecoins has always been good, really solid, with so many regulars… But sometimes you do these things for yourself, you know? After ten years, you want something new and to be motivated. And with Chris and Antonio coming in, that’s the motivation we were looking for.”
“The continuity is in the intent, this has always been a family restaurant, a community restaurant with so many regulars that come for a friendly face, honest food – and that’s really what we want to bring from the experience.”
“We’re always evolving, the way of doing things in 2010 was different to 2020, and probably in 2030 it’s going to be different again.”
“I think it’s important to understand when it’s time to change – you don’t want to change when the business starts to get old and you start to slow down, you want to anticipate these moments.”
Alongside these changes to personnel and approach, they’ve taken the opportunity to refresh the restaurant itself. As well as new floors and a refreshed alfresco, a new whizz-bang kitchen fit out features shiny new ovens, a new pasta extruder and way more space.
“We’ve got the new Moretti deck ovens that will allow us to do a different kind of pizza offering,” Chris tells us. Pinsa forms an integral part of the new menu: the Roman flatbread is lighter than pizza, and toppings will include confit garlic, tomato and Olasagasti anchovies; salami, fresh ricotta and fermented chilli honey; or mortadella with pineapple salsa and pickled peppers.
“We’ve bought our own pasta extruder – pasta’s always been a big focus here but we’ll be able to really expand on that and save time and be able to focus on being creative with that. Not creative for the sake of creative – slightly different from Testun where it’s anything goes, instead of being limited to one or two shapes we can match them to the sauce we want to do and be as creative as we want in that regard.”
On the drinks front, the wine list has expanded to include over 100 options, with a focus on Italian and locals and the ability to order house wines by the carafe – plus a robust selection of classic Italian aperitivo cocktails, vermouth and amaro.
“It’s supposed to be a marriage of that old-school, Italo-Australian background that I have and the real classical Italian food background that Frank and his old man have.”
“This may be a little bit more friendly for families and older clientele than Testun, where it’s a bit more loud and fucking mental.”
“We set the tone at Testun – it was supposed to be loud and a bit obnoxious and rambunctious, but this is a meeting of worlds. You know, I come from an old school Italian family restaurant, and Frank and his family own one as well, and they come from Italy, and so this is going to be a place to smash that together as well.”
“I grew up in a red sauce joint,” he continues. (Chris cut his teeth in the kitchen at his family’s restaurant, Fremantle’s landmark Capri.)
“And Frank and his family don’t really have the same understanding of what that means, but they do have an understanding of genuine Italian hospitality. And they bring a different context. And I think that’s the good thing about here, it’s not your typical red sauce joint, even though the offering is not that far away from that, there’s something that elevates it a little bit more.”
“People come also for comfort,” adds Frank.
“‘I don’t want to go to a new place, I want to go to my old, same place, because I know the faces of the people, I like what they do’. It’s important to give something to everybody, not just a young guy that wants to be at the cool restaurant, trendy wine bar of the month!”
“It’s going to be always us, so that’s the most important thing – you can change the walls, you can change the menu, you can change everything…”
Chris interjects, laughing: “But you can’t change the heart!”
Threecoins & Sons is set to reopen on October 3, and is located at 12/776 Beaufort Street, Mount Lawley.