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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Crisp arancini ($16) ooze with cheese. The tomato and mozzarella rice balls, served with a basil pesto, are bursting with smoky flavours.
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.
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.
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.
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
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
16 Bayview Terrace
Phone 9284 6090
■ Opening times
Monday to Saturday
Lunch 12pm to 3.30pm
Dinner 5.30pm till late
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
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!