Toastface Grillah, Perth CBD

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Tucked away down Grand Lane you’ll find the grungy cool of Toastface Grillah. A top spot for a pimped up toastie and hip hop beats, it was also one of my very first blogs, over four years ago. The name “Toastface Grillah” grabbed me – it’s a twist on the name of US rapper Ghostface Killah (Wu Tang Clan), who has incidentally visited and played an impromptu gig here in the lane! This little eatery is a little bit “gangsta” too.

Toastface Grillah is a fantastic place for breakfast, brunch and lunch. We’ve been toasted sandwich fans since our childhood. This is much more than your Mum’s simple cheese and tomato toastie. The café itself is thrift shop chic. It’s very casual, with a few benches dotted around the small courtyard and cool beats coming out of the retro speakers.

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These toasties are all superb in there gooey, oozey cheesy-ness. Little Chef loved the simple “Get Ya Veg”, vegemite and cheese toastie, $5.

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Chef gobbled down the ham, cheese and mustard toastie, $7. The boys relished their toasties. Continue reading

My Other Favourite F-Word… F1

Now I’m going to let you in on something…

Some people may be surprised to know that “food” is NOT my most favourite F-word.

Though food is a massive passion of mine, it’s not my #1 obsession – that would be Formula One motor racing. I’m a huge F1 nerd. If I was ever faced with a choice of spending a year dining at twenty of the best Mitchelin starred restaurants in the world or travelling to all of the Formula One circuits in a season, I’d choose F1. EVERY. SINGLE. TIME.

So, you can imagine that when I visited Daniel Ricciardo’s race winning Red Bull at the new WA Motor Museum extension, I was totally giddy with excitement!

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Why F1?

My love of F1 started back in the mid-1990s, when I was a teenager and had been living in the UK for a few years. I’d spend hours on the weekend watching the race build up, driver interviews and religiously watched qualifying and each race.

So why the big obsession? To be honest, it doesn’t come down to just one thing. I love the excitement, speed, noise, glamour and drama of each race and season. What the drivers, team managers and expert pundits have to say absolutely fascinates me.

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My husband “Chef” will occasionally watch a race with me. He’ll shake his head when I insert a random nugget of info that I know – like Michael Schumacher broke his leg at Silverstone in 1999 (at Stowe Corner) or an inconspicuous person sitting on the pit wall is Rob Smedley, one of the technical peeps at Williams – who incidentally haven’t been at their best for a long time (like, decades). Or I have to tell him to “calm the eff down” cos the F1 car is NOT on fire – it’s just brake dust or sparks flying from the undercarriage hitting the track. I’ve forgotten how many times I’ve explained the DRS (Drag Reduction System) to him. My party trick is to name every F1 Champion and team (in order) for the last 25 years. As you can see, a lot of incredibly useless F1 info is swarming around in my head. Though I find it endlessly captivating.

In my 19 years of being a dedicated fan, I’ve not been to a race yet. It is top of my bucket list (in red, underlined AND highlighted). Distance and cost have been factors (gotta love living in the world’s most isolated capital city)! I am determined to get to an actual race weekend one day. Which one would I go to? Melbourne and Singapore would both be obvious choices and fantastic destinations for a foodie too! Monaco would also be an iconic race to visit. My first choice would have to be the Belgium GP. To watch an F1 car zoom up the sweeping Eu Rouge would be breathtaking.

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My Most Memorable Race

One of my all-time favourite F1 races was at Spa in 1998. It really cemented my love of F1. It was a crazy race where anything and everything happened (a bit like this year’s Azerbaijan race). Torrential rain caused a mass pile up on the starting lap, which took out about 13 of the cars. It was a spectacular sight and a wonder no one got hurt. Back in those days each team was lucky to have a spare car, so many of the drivers were still able to race at the re-start.

Cars were aquaplaning off the circuit left right and centre in the horrendous conditions. Michael Schumacher was winning by miles (he was the rain-meister after all). His Ferrari came up to lap David Coulthard in the McLaren and he ended up slamming right into the back of him, as visibility was so poor. He lost one of his front tyres and had to three-wheel it back to the pits. I remember chuckling as he stormed down to DC’s garage, it looked like there was going to be a punch up. In the end, after even more bingles, only 8 out of 20 cars finished and the bright yellow Jordan’s earned their very first race win, and a 1-2 at that (Damon Hill & Ralf Schumacher).

 

RB10 at the WA Motor Museum

At the WA Motor Museum (Whiteman Park, Western Australia) the RB10, Daniel Ricciardo’s race winning Red Bull from his break out 2014 season, sits proudly rotating on the turntable. This car is the real deal. It’s not a shell or a replica. Its Renault engine is hidden under the shiny Newey-designed chassis. Even the steering wheel, with its many buttons, is still in the cockpit.

This car took Daniel to his maiden Formula One victory in Canada and then wins in Belgium and Hungary later that year. And he’s been kind enough to loan his very special car to the museum, on a long term basis. We’re so lucky to have this here in Perth.

It blows my mind at how much it is worth, “seven figures” according to Daniel Ricciardo, that’s over a million dollars! In future, I’d love to see some more memorabilia at the museum on Daniel Ricciardo and other past Aussie F1 drivers.

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Anyways, I could go on about F1 till the Minardis come home… Of course Daniel is my favourite of the current drivers, but not just as he’s from Perth (and is wildly entertaining off track). He grabs every chance he gets with both hands and is so fierce. Given the right car (and engine), I have no doubt he’ll be our very first West Aussie F1 World Champion.

Did you know Danny Ric is a bit of a foodie too? He’s always hunting down the best food whenever he travels, Sushi in Japan, BBQ in Texas and he is a partner in a micro-brewery in the South of France with another of my F1 faves, 2009 World Champ Jenson Button. How cool is that! Blue Coast Brewing Co is just outside of Nice. I wonder if he’ll bring it to Perth one day?

And for now, we all have a little slice of F1 at the WA Motor Museum. How lucky are we!? Make sure you go down to Whiteman Park and check it out.

Here’s my Buggybuddys review of the Motor Museum. I was stoked to be able to write about cars for once!

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More on the WA Motor Museum here.

Whitfords Brewing Co, Westfield Whitford City

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The new foodie hub at Westfield Whitford City is an entertainment and dining hot spot.  We headed down there to check out just one of the many restaurants, the shiny new Whitfords Brewing Co. Inside you’ll find somewhere to prop up the bar, as it’s one of the longest bars in WA and upstairs there is a rooftop terrace, from which you’ll be able to enjoy sunsets in the evening.

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Chef was chomping at the bit to have a pint and some eats here. The WBC is from the peeps from Beerland, who are behind the Northbridge Brewing Co.

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There’s dining areas outside, overlooking the lush and green central space of the new Whitford City piazza, where there’s a small stage for live entertainment, and sculptures.

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These sculptures double as an interesting place for children to play and explore.

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We found a high table near the bar and a friendly waitress brought Little Chef an activity pack, as soon as we sat down.

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For a weekday lunchtime the brewery was pumping and it has a jolly atmosphere. On tap are the WBC’s ale, lager, a wheat beer, kolsch and IPA, as well as brews from other craft breweries.

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The large menu features all the crowd favourites. Chef picked the angus burger ($19). A succulent, flame grilled patty sits on a bun, along with shredded lettuce, aioli, cheese, dill pickle, house made tomato chutney. He loved the patty, which had a real home made taste to it.

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I chose the roast pumpkin pizza, on a gluten free base. I find the GF substitutes very hit and miss, but this base was not far from the real deal, topped with a tasty combo of Danish feta, rocket, caramelised onion and cashews.

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Little Chef chose the mini beef slider and chips from the varied kids menu. The slider was oozing with cheese and looked delicious.

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We had no complaints with the pub-style food. I’m sure we’ll be back to check out the rooftop terrace and I’ve no doubt this spot will soon become a northern suburbs favourite.

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Other eateries at Westfield Whitford City include:

  • East Village NY
  • Hunter & Barrel
  • Max Brenner Chocolate
  • Miss Chows
  • Jersey Jack Gelato
  • Gami 
  • Bombay Talkies
  • Bangkok Brothers
  • Dough Pizza
  • Grill’d Bugers
  •  Eat House
  • Guzman Y Gomez
  • Event Cinema

There’s so much to discover at the Whitfords piazza and it’s a brilliant place for lunch with the family before a movie at Event Cinemas or even a cheeky date night.

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NEW Vines Mini Golf & Kid Friendly Swan Valley Eats

The newly opened Vines Mini Golf course at The Vines Resort is very impressive. This stunningly landscaped miniature golf course has wine barrels, tractors and lots of timber, giving it a real Swan Valley feel.

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The course has been designed for both adults and children to enjoy. And the three of us do love a family game of mini golf! Everybody tees off from the same point, but depending on your own choice, you can aim towards the blue or red flags – designed to give you a slightly different experience if you play more than once.

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Each hole has its own individual challenges – sand traps, slopes and hills, bridges, tunnels and water features. There are streams meandering past many of the holes. We lost a couple of balls in there… whoops!

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All the holes were fun and each had its own individual challenge. There’s a hole with two tunnels, taking the balls down to a lower level, that was a big hit with Little Chef. He was stoked that he got TWO holes in one too!

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Unlike traditional golf at The Vines, there’s no strict dress code, though everyone must have footwear on at all times and you cannot wear high heels on the course. There’s no shade and the average play time is about 1 hour, so remember to slip, slop slap!

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When we played, we were lucky to get a sneak peek before the course opened to the public. They were still making a few finishing touches, including a fun “winner’s podium”, just to make it a little more competitive – everybody wants to be on the top step and get mini golf bragging rights!

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Vines Mini Golf is a “hole” lot of fun! We enjoyed the challenges of trying to keep the ball out of the water and of course, Little Chef beat me. I’ll be challenging to a re-match very soon. We will definitely go back there again. It’s loads of fun for the whole family – no experience necessary!

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8 Swan Valley Kid-Friendly Eats

And while you’re in the Swan Valley, how about you try one of these kid-friendly spots?

Oakover Grounds – this winery has excellent casual food in a beautiful setting on a lake. There’s free peddle boats and fishing too! If you’re lucky enough to catch a fish (like us) you can pay for it and cook it up at home! Read my blog here.

For Kids: kids menu, loads of space for them to run around, peddle boats and fishing.

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Taylors Art and Coffee House – my favourite Swan Valley brunch spot. There’s fluffy pancakes, great coffee and other scrumptious creations. Read my blog here.

For Kids: kids menu, casual vibe and a sandpit in the back courtyard.

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The Hen – The Hen has bucket loads of character, for a new spot. The rustic, country vibe works well in the Swan Valley and we enjoyed a tasty lunch there last year. Read my blog here.

For Kids: kids menu, and loads of space for them to run around – balls and frisbees available.

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Maison St Honore – this macaron factory is a fantastic spot for a sweet treat and coffee. There’s a few savoury items available too and I did spy a brunch menu, so I’ll have to “investigate” that further! Read my blog here.

For Kids: scrumptious treats, loads of lawn and a playground.

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Fun, Food and Flying Pigs at the 2017 IGA Perth Royal Show

It’s showtime! The IGA Perth Royal Show is on NOW till Saturday the 30th of September.

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Growing up, the Perth Royal Show was a firm favourite of mine. I have fond childhood memories of Bertie Beatle showbags and cuddly animals, as well as stomach churning rides when Chef and I were dating in our early 20s.

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This year it was Little Chef’s very first time experiencing all the fun of the show and he’d given us very strict instructions on what show bags he’d like and just what he wanted to see and do.

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Not surprisingly, other than the rides and side show alley, he was most excited about seeing all the animals. Little Chef cuddled chicks, guinea pigs and patted some piglets too.

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Just outside, you’ll find the “Racing and Flying Pigs Show”. This goes for about 15 minutes and we loved seeing those porkers fly!

We really enjoyed “Walk Through WA”, here all regions of WA are featured. Little Chef loved the farming virtual reality, seeing cute baby camels and also prospecting for gold, where he found a gold coin to keep.

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Before we knew it, it was lunchtime! We headed to the huge Taste WA tent, which was a perfect place to discover some delicious Royal Show award winning West Aussie produce to eat – from Perth’s best sausage to gold medal pies and bread.

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There’s loads of seating, making it a good stop in the changeable weather.

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Little Chef tucked into crumbed Pilbara Spanish Mackerel. The hand cup chips are from the south west – even the salt is from WA!

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I had some saucy Linley Valley pork ribs and chips.

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While we were chowing down on all that, we watched a cooking demo by West Australian Food Ambassador, Chef Don Hancey.

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There’s a bar and cider truck from my favourites Core Cider House too!

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There’s loads of other food options all around the show. From the run of the mill hamburgers and hotdogs, to something a bit wild and wacky – deep fried Oreos anyone?!

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OMG… I sniffed out these giant turkey legs and lamb shanks, which looked A-frikkin-mazing! Too bad we’d just had our lunch.

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These meaty morsels are found at that little food vendor with the yellow roof that’s between the top of the oval and the Ferris wheel. I remember it from when I was a kid, so it’s been there quite some time! A trip here is definitely on my list for next year! Continue reading

Westfield Whitford City Dining Hub

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This morning the eagerly awaited new piazza and Event Cinemas has opened at Westfield Whitford City Shopping Centre. The foodie hub promises to make Whitfords an entertainment and dining spot, not just a place for shopping. I headed down with what felt like the entire Perth NoR population to check out just what’s on offer.

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The space is lush and green. The restaurants and cafes are in a U shape around the central space, which has a small stage for live entertainment, lots of alfresco dining and some sculptures, which will double as a place for children to play and explore.

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There’s lots of variety with the food vendors. I found mainly casual spots that are also family friendly and many different cuisines. Here’s what you can expect to find…

Whitfords Brewing Co – with one of the longest bars in WA and a rooftop terrace, this spot will soon become a Northern Suburbs favourite. I know Chef is chomping at the bit to have a pint and some eats here. From the Beerland, who are behind the Northbridge Brewing Co.

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East Village NY – this all day diner has a New York vibe.

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Eat House – another NYC ‘Deli & Grill’ with an Italian twist. The menu changes daily and you’ll find things like gourmet sandwiches and

Max Brenner Chocolate  – chocoholics will LOVE Max Brenner, an international chocolate café.

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Guzman Y Gomez – a Tex-Mex casual eatery where burritos, nachos, taco, quesadillas and more are found on the menu.

Miss Chows – this chic Asian specialises in dumplings and other mod-Asian delights. Best of all, no MSG!

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Gami – serving mouth-watering Korean fried chicken. Man I wish there was a GF version!

Bombay Talkies (coming soon) – this sounds amazing! Here you’ll find vibrant Indian-inspired takeaway street food.

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Bangkok Brothers – a popular Northbridge spot, this bar and casual Thai eatery looks delicious.

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Jersey Jack Gelato – now we don’t have to drive allll the way to Como to enjoy Jersey Jack and their crazy gelato cones!

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Dough Pizza (coming soon) – another Northbridge favourite, serving traditional Italian wood fired pizzas.

Grill’d Bugers – a firm family favourite. We love their gourmet burgers!

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Hunter Barrel – coal roasted meats by the peeps behind Ribs n Burgers. The interior looks really sleek and I’m looking forward to dining there.

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Event Cinemas – finally, we don’t have to treck to Innaloo for Gold class! Event Cinemas are found upstairs. There’s brand new cinemas and VMax too. The candy bar is impressive, with a choc top fridge, soda bar and loads of pick n mix lollies.

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There’s so much at the Whitfords piazza to discover and it’s a brilliant place for lunch with the family before a movie at Event Cinemas or even a cheeky date night.

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I’m planning on dining at several of these spots – so stay tuned!

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Nolita, Claremont

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Nolita Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Nolita is a stylish little eatery. Set amongst the chic boutiques of Bayview Terrace, the modern Italian restaurant has a very Claremont feel – sleek, high-end and architecturally designed.

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We’re greeted at the door by a friendly waiter with the warm, musical tones of an Italian accent. The intimate dining room is long and narrow. We are seated along the wood panelled feature wall, poured water, with lemon and directed to the very informative menus which are a wealth of information.

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Not only do we find our food and beverage options on the menu, but also a little on the charitable ethos of the family owned restaurant, and a list of their standard kitchen practices to put those with food intolerances and allergies minds at rest.

The wine list offers great choice of both Australian drops and Italian imports. Mondays and Tuesday you can raid your own wine cellar and bring along a bottle of vino with no corkage charge.

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I choose the crisp, fruity Italian Breganaze Pinot Grigio, knowing it will be a good match for seafood and pasta. Chef’s pick is the 2014 Kaesler “Stonehorse” Shiraz, from the Barossa. There’s also a selection of Italian beers and tempting Italian cocktails – think negronis, Aperol Spritz and fruity bellinis.

Nolita, an abbreviation of “North of Little Italy”, is a neighbourhood in Manhattan, New York. Whilst its menu is steeped in traditional Italian dishes, it also has a contemporary feel.

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First, we order three dishes to share. Chef and I can never resist a good carpaccio ($21.50). The thinly sliced raw beef fillet, topped with a creamy truffle aioli, melts in my mouth. Toasted pine nuts, and shaved parmesan give the traditional Venetian dish a little bite.

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Next up is the polpette ($17), four plump meatballs of chicken, veal and pistachio nuts. The moist meatballs are covered in a rich tomato sugo. Whilst it’s a tasty dish, I had hoped for more punchy flavours. I’d love to see the meatballs served with a spicy arribbiata sauce.

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Crisp arancini ($16) ooze with cheese. The tomato and mozzarella rice balls, served with a basil pesto, are bursting with smoky flavours.

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The service at Nolita is friendly, on the ball and unobtrusive. We didn’t even realise our water had been topped up several times. I certainly don’t have to wave a waiter down like I’m trying to direct traffic.

For main, as one would imagine, there are pasta dishes aplenty. Those with intolerances don’t have to miss out on the carb-fest, as gluten free pasta is also available. Soft house-made potato gnocchi is entwined with gloriously tender morsels of White Rocks veal. This is covered by a rich tomato ragu, broad beans and sharp, shaved parmesan.

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Crispy-skin salmon, served perfectly pink in the middle, is complimented by a roasted beetroot puree and dill crème fresh. A salad of fennel and zucchini has clean flavours and a crisp texture.

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Chef enjoys another glass of Shiraz along with a cheese plate. The three cheese selection is made up of a soft Mauro Taleggio, the strongly flavoured Mauri Gorgonzola Piccante and mildly spicy Perenzin Formajo Ciock al Vino Rosso, served with sweet fig chutney, crackers and lightly toasted ciabatta.

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For the grand finale, a coconut, cherry and white chocolate semifreddo is absolutely luscious. I savour every bite of this delicious dessert, surrounded by a pool of raspberry coulis and crowned with an impressive pile of chocolate fairy floss

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Nolita is so much more than your average suburban Italian eatery, where enormous sauce laden serves of pasta are the norm. Here, the food is well cooked and full of Italian flair. It’s a tasty little spot and we suggest you get down there – pronto!

At a glance

■ Nolita
16 Bayview Terrace
Claremont
Phone 9284 6090
■ Opening times
Monday to Saturday
Lunch 12pm to 3.30pm
Dinner 5.30pm till late
■ Rating
Food 4
service 4
ambience 4
value for money 3
■ style – Modern Italian
■ wine – Good selection of Australian
and Italian wines, beers and cocktails.
■ Head Chef – Robert Boorman
■ Owner – Jon Stubbs
■ feel – classy, with a lively atmosphere
■ wheelchair access – no
■ cost
Entrée/Share $4.75 to $21.50
Main $22.50 to $42
Dessert $4.50 to $22.50
■ all in all – A chic little Italian in
the heart of Claremont. Tasty, modern
Italian dishes and drinks. Buon Appetite!