Words by Simone Agostino, Perth-based author of The Table Of Us – a beautiful new 208-page hardcover book featuring over 70 big-hearted, wholesome and uncomplicated Italian recipes with images representing the beauty of the country along with personal memories. You can purchase it HERE.
When you can’t get to Italy during the midst of a pandemic, rest assured we are certainly spoilt for choice with Italy making its way over to us here in Perth. With simplicity being at the forefront of Italian cuisine, here is my top five Italian dishes of uncomplicated, yet wonderfully, satisfying culinary delights.
Vitello Tonnato, tuna aioli, caperberries, kalamata olives / $17
Yes they make pizza, and very good ones too, but it’s the rest of their menu that draws me in every time. This classic Piedmontese dish is a splendid blend of perfectly poached tender veal served on a bed of rich and creamy tuna sauce, accompanied with the bold and punchy favours of the caperberry and olive. Typically served as an antipasti, this is quite literally a match made in heaven. Don’t turn your nose up to this unusual flavour combination.
110 Marine Parade, Cottesloe
Charred Rottnest Swordfish, cannellini beans, grape tomato, paprika and romesco / $market price.
Literally translating to ‘the beach’, chef Alessandro at Il Lido certainly brings his A-game in providing that traditional Italian dining-by-the-sea experience with his famous swordfish delight. The meaty textured fish fillet is served atop a warm medley of cannellini beans and grape cherry tomatoes, then finished with an unforgettable romesco sauce. These flavours work so wonderfully together, it’s a given why this classic keeps making its way back to their menu time and time again.
88 Marine Parade, Cottesloe
Tonnarelli Cacio e Pepe, pecorino, pepper / $24
Guy Grossi’s cacio e pepe is simply superb. Garum’s head chef, Stefano Pingue, delivers on this minimalist dish made up of only two simple ingredients – cheese and pepper. The sharpness of the pecorino cheese together with the bite of freshly ground black pepper create a lusciously rich sauce that coats each strand of the tonnarelli pasta beautifully. It will leave you wanting more with every mouthful.
Hibernian Place, 480 Hay Street, Perth
Santini Bar & Grill
Bistecca Fiorentina, 30 day dry aged, 100 day grain fed, salsa erbe, 800g / $96
Is there anything more Italian then ordering a perfectly seared steak and having them cut it for you? This classic Florentine style steak requires very little in the way of flavourings to showcase the gorgeous Rose Mallee beef that executive chef Nic Wood precisely sources to align his delicacy with. Sliced on the diagonal, revealing the blushing pink tenderness that lures us in for yet another forkful, this mouth-watering classic is one that can be enjoyed shared-style with plenty of necessary accompaniments – just like the Italians.
First Floor, 133 Murray Street, Perth
Lalla Rookh Bar & Eating House
Veal Cotaletta, broccoli rabe, anchovies, green olives, rosemary / $39
Did someone say broccoli rabe? Not typically a common ingredient found on the menu of a Perth restaurant, this vegetable is the ultimate side for head chef Alexandra Haynes’ perfectly golden crumbed veal delight. The boldness of this dish is what entices me to order it time and time again. Salty anchovies, meaty green olives, bitter garlicky greens – need I say more? These are the true flavours of the Italian Mediterranean down to a T.
77 St. Georges Terrace, Perth
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Header image: Garum