Fans of city favourite Lalla Rookh will be happy to hear that the people behind it have opened a new venue in the western suburbs. Subiaco is in the midst of a reinvention of sorts. Gone is the heady pre-footy game bustle – now Subi is finding its feet as an inner city neighbourhood precinct, where appealing to locals is a new focus.
We find ourselves at such a spot, pitched at local foodies and families. Dilly Dally has an eye-catching orange façade, but is instantly recognisable as the long standing home of The Witches Cauldron. We wonder what Dilly Dally will offer, whether the newcomer will have the staying power of its predecessor, and perhaps the most important question of all… would there be garlic prawns on the menu?!
Greeted at the door by an engaging waiter, we are given a choice of spots to sit. The large, laid back restaurant has many sides. The previously formal dining space with white tablecloths and polished cutlery has been opened up, though there’s plenty of nooks to find a private spot. Worn timber floorboards, exposed brick, and ornate ceilings, give warmth.
Dilly Dally has a sort-of mullet layout – business lunches by the bar at the front of the restaurant, while the party at the cavernous back-end dining room is enjoyed by families. Alfresco dining under the leafy canopy of Rokeby Road is also a popular spot to linger at Dilly Dally.
Co-Owner and acclaimed sommelier Jeremy Prus, has curated an interesting wine offering of predominantly Italian and Australian labels and rare drops, as well as organic, lo-fi wines.
A tempting menu of Italian share plates and pizza is certainly something to dilly dally over. While it would be easy to pigeonhole this eatery as Italian, don’t expect bowls of pasta. Do come for the modern, easy eating Italian-ish share food, as well as hand stretched pizzas and flatbreads.
After we reel off our order, a waitress questions if we’d ordered a plate or two too many. We’re hungry and confident we will rise to the challenge.
Starting with small plates, we devour bite sized arancini balls ($13.50) oozing with mozzarella. The nicely seasoned morsels are perfect for sharing, with a fresh herb aioli on the side.
A pretty beetroot salad ($14.50) plated with smoked goats curd and hazelnuts tastes every bit as good as it looks.
Gloriously golden fried potatoes ($9) are served with a creamy and slightly sour buttermilk aioli for dunking.
It would be completely remiss of me to dine at one of the most iconic buildings in Perth’s hospitality history and not order prawns. These are not cooked the traditional sizzling Witches Cauldron way, and that’s a good thing. Whole Shark Bay prawns ($24), are cooked in lashings of chilli and plenty of garlic, served topped with roasted tomatoes and crisp pangrattato crumbs. We love the fresh take on garlic prawns.
The Dilly Dally chefs age their dough for two days, making for a fluffy grilled flatbread ($16) that is folded with roasted mushrooms, gooey (and deliciously stinky) taleggio cheese and rocket.
When dining with kids, too often a quality feed has to be given up to keep the little tackers happy (I HATE chain steakhouses, however kid-friendly they may be). As well as the adults being well catered for at Dilly Dally, there’s an interesting menu for bambinos, void of fish fingers and chicken nuggets. Little Chef was delighted with a ham and pineapple pizza ($12) which was not much smaller than an adults serve, with a crisp handmade base.
There’s a handy kid’s nook at the rear of the restaurant, complete with books, toys and retro arcade games.
Onto the larger plates or “biggest bits”. The market fish of the day ($34) is an expertly boned blue spotted emperor, served butterflied, making it easy to eat the full-flavoured flesh. Topped with sweet roasted grape tomatoes and capers, it’s a subtle seafood dish, busting with freshness.
Chef relishes a traditional crumbed pork cotoletta ($29.05). Succulent meat is served sliced and on the bone, with charred capsicum, spring onion, those roast tomatoes again and hazelnuts. We notice a few flavours are repeated throughout the menu.
After our initial concern that our eyes are much larger than our bellies, we are comfortably satisfied – though Chef can’t be tempted by dessert. Little Chef is treated to a bowl of ice cream and popping candy.
A sweet strawberry mousse ($11), with rich white chocolate ganache, dehydrated strawberries and shortbread crumble, is a gratifying and light dessert.
If you like to linger and take your own sweet time – be sure to enjoy a long lazy meal at Dilly Dally.
Dilly Dally Subiaco – At a Glance
■ Dilly Dally
87 Rokeby Road,
Phone 6228 1986
■ Opening times
Tues – Thur 4pm to late
Fri – Sun 11.30am to late
value for money 4
■ style – Modern Italian
■ wine – interesting selection of
local and Italian labels
to please all wine lovers.
■ Chef – Peter Hajdu
■ Owners – Patrick Ryan, Jeremy Prus,
Tim Mack, Michael Benson
■ feel – laid back and lively
■ wheelchair access – yes
■ cost –
Small Plates – $4.50 to $24
Large Plates – $18 to $99
Dessert – $11 – $28
■ all in all – grab a table at this laid-back
Italian for well-cooked local seafood,
pizzas and share plates along with top notch
wines to dilly dally over.