Itsara – Nedlands

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

Itsara, a high-end Thai eatery on Stirling Highway, is an unassuming spot from the outside. The modern restaurant is packed with locals and it’s not hard to see why, once you’ve stepped inside. Never in Perth have I seen such a breathtaking eating space than the garden dining room at Itsara. You can imagine that you’re eating in a Thai jungle as you are completely surrounded by the lush greenery of the vertical and hanging gardens.

It’s comes as no surprise that their thriving indoor garden is down to Head Chef and co-owner Itsara  Pracharoenwattana, who has a PhD in plant molecular biology. As well as nurturing this dining oasis, Chef Itsara also grows a great deal of his own vegetables and herbs.

We step into the busy restaurant and are shown to our table at the door of the contemporary main dining room, which has large windows spilling out to the garden dining room below. I can hardly take my eyes off the greenery long enough to look at the drinks menu. I choose a glass of Pierro LTC Semillon Sauvignon. The delicate drop from Margaret River has tangy stone fruit flavours and compliments Thai food well.

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Most people share dishes at Itsara, though you don’t have to if you’re feeling greedy. The tempting modern Thai menu is completely gluten free, besides a couple of deserts. The kitchen makes all their own pastes and sauces from scratch, using fresh ingredients, meaning MSG and other nasty food additives aren’t used in their cooking.

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Soon enough our “Pretty Duck” arrives, $18, which is indeed a pretty dish. Char-grilled marinated duck is served with fresh julienned green mango, shallot and cashew nuts. The sweet dish has crunch and is drizzled with a cracking house made dressing, made of pineapple and sweet chilli.

Pretty Duck Continue reading

Lulu La Delizia – Subiaco

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Lulu La Delizia Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Until recently, Chef Joel Valvasori was Head Chef at Lalla Rookh in the city. I’d longed to go there for dinner. I’d heard and read many positive things about his celebrated traditional Italian cooking, but had never quite made it there. Once, we had our booking cancelled as the restaurant was closed suddenly on a Friday night with plumbing issues. Another time we had to cancel our booking because of the dreaded man-flu. I wondered if we’d ever find out what all the fuss was about.

When I heard Chef Valvasori was opening his own restaurant in Subiaco, I made it a priority to visit. So a couple of weeks after newbie Lulu La Delizia has opened, on a side lane off leafy Rokeby Road, we’re booked for lunch and as keen as mustard.

The eatery, named in honour of Valvasori’s Northern Italian Nonna, has a vintage feel about it. Lace curtains hang in the window, wine bottles and tinned tomatoes are stacked up the walls and lively 1950’s music grooves in the background. The Chefs busily work away in the open kitchen, where they spend hours perfecting their hand crafted pastas.img_1291

The menu is designed to share. It is made up of pasta dishes and “delights” (everything else) and we find that we want to choose most of the menu. A few of Valvasori’s signature dishes, like his famed braised bone marrow, have made to Subi. The six plate Chef’s selection menu at $62 per person sounds like the perfect choice for us.

A lot of thought has been put into the wine list, which is made up of wines from northern Italy and also Australian vineyards that use similar Italian grape varieties. I choose a Margaret River Rosé from Express Winemakers. It’s a fruity drop with raspberry and citrus notes.img_1298

An appetiser of thin cheese crisps, dusted with mushroom powder, get our juices flowing.img_1293

Next, we smother fresh house made bread with cultured butter and a rich vegetable sugo.bread-sugo

Crisp wood grilled chicken skin is served on skewers with rosemary vinegar. Chef would have happily eaten a dozen of these moreish morsels, smothered in tocj, the lip-smacking delicious pan juices.img_1299

The kingfish, cooked in an orange and aperol marinato, is served with juniper, sweet celery heart and baby cucumber. The fresh kingfish, combined with the diced veg makes a crisp, light dish.img_1306

A salad of lemon ricotta with asparagus and garden fresh broad beans is another summery dish, full of zesty flavour. It’s drizzled with a carciuga, an Italian artichoke and anchovy puree and lemon thyme.img_1313

Just as I think we need fresh plates, our friendly and on-the-ball waitress is already replacing them. Next, textural tubes of gargati pasta are served with duck livers, smoky pancetta and sweet onions. Up until now I haven’t liked liver (thanks Mum), but cooked in the right way, this offal is not as awful as I’d once thought.img_1316

The star dish for both of us is the hearty veal and pork tagliatelle della delizia. The silky flat noodles are coated, but not swamped, in a vegetable and red wine ragu which has an amazing depth of flavour.pork-taglitelli

For dessert a creamy grappa scented pannacotta vera is topped with a roasted cocoa and walnut crumble and dark orange caramel oozes down its sides.pannacotta

We finish with sweet spiced doughnuts. The fluffy deep-fried delicacies are brimming with apple, sultanas and citrus zests. Bellissimo!img_1334

At Lulu La Delizia the kitchen team has aimed to make pasta the hero and they have absolutely achieved this. Prepare to be surprised by the deceptively simple dishes at this pasta bar. Each dish at Lulu compliments the last and leaves your wanting just a little more. This is soul-warming peasant food at its best.img_1330

At a glance

Lulu La Delizia

Shop 5/97 Rokeby Rd

(Forrest Walk)

Subiaco

Phone 08 9381 2466

Opening times

Lunch – Tuesday to Friday 12-3pm

Dinner – Tuesday to Saturday 5pm till late

Rating

food 4

service 4

ambience 4

value for money 4

style Italian

wine The interesting wine list features Northern Italian drops

and Italian varieties also found in Australia.

Chef Joel Valvasori

Owners – Joel Valvasori and Ivana Pereza

feel rustic, bustling atmosphere.

wheelchair access yes

cost

Delights $4 – $38

Pasta $27 – $29

Desert $9 – $20

Chef’s selection – 6 share dishes – $62pp

all in all A top notch Italian  eatery and wine bar with a menu

where authentic, fresh pasta is the specialty.

Beluga – Claremont CLOSED

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From the moment we walked through Beluga’s door, we felt that we were in for an experience! And we certainly were!! The staff were outstanding. The two ladies that were our main servers were incredibly knowledgeable and very welcoming. Our white marble table was high; we sat on stools, so we had a fantastic view into the open kitchen. The table legs had handbag hooks too – nice touch – you certainly would not want to get your Hermes Birkin dirty!

Chef spent most of the evening gazing through the pass; I was a bit worried that this would be like a “busman’s holiday” for him. At least he was on the dining side of the pass – for a change! The restaurant also has a more intimate dining area, where the lighting is dimmer and it’s away from the bustling kitchen. It’s a great idea to have two such differing areas in the same restaurant. There’s also the alfresco dining area too, open during summer.

Our waitress gave us a little background on the restaurant and explained that they were known for the “chef’s choice”, where the Chef… you guessed it… chooses your dishes for you. It was quite exciting not knowing what we had in store for us! We’re not fussy eaters, so it was perfect really. It was about $75pp, depending on what the Chef sent out. You’ll receive three entrées to share and then main and 2 sides to share. It’s a good way of trying things that you wouldn’t normally choose off of the menu yourself.

For Entrée we shared;

-Caramelised Linley Valley Pork belly, Hummus, Aged Sherry Apple Dressing & Pomegranate $24  This dish is stunning!!! Delicious pork belly, the hummus was very cumin-y and the sweet little pomegranates just burst in your mouth. The closest to caviar we were going to get!

– Seared Rottnest Scallops, Spiced cauliflower & chorizo crumb, apple puree $28  We’re big fans of Rotto scallops, these were big juicy monsters. We really loved the little chunks of cauliflower & chorizo crumb too – they gave the dish a fantastic texture.

– Broccoli & truffleSoup, w prosciutto and parmesan crisps   Very tasty. It hit the spot on such a rainy night!

For Main we had Belugas signature dish, the Greek roasted Dorper Lamb Shoulder ($24pp). This was slow roasted in citrus flavours for hours, and then quickly crisped up in the oven.

On the side were…

 -Pear & rocket salad with walnuts, witlof and Saint Agur cheese $16. That side was fantastic, and I would have eaten it as a dish in its own right. The creamy – but sharp – French Blue cheese was sublime.

-Roasted Root Veg, Herbs & Dijon dressing $16. These veggies were delicious. They were roasted with a garlic bulb, sliced in half, little cloves of roasted garlic were scattered through the plate.

The lamb was fantastic; it just fell off the bone. It was incredibly moist and tasty. Chef thought that this dish needed a Jus. The meat was by no means dry, but the dish as a whole probably needed a sauce, a little for the meat and veg. There was a lot of lamb left over, the serve was super generous. I was done. The Lamb had beaten me, but I had given it a good shot!! I was thinking of ways I could smuggle the last few chunks into my handbag, but Chef talked me out of it hehe  Chef was still raring to go, so he was on his own with dessert.

The Beluga Chocolate Plate $16   Chef really enjoyed this. The chocolate ice-cream and chocolate brownie were fantastic. Chef especially loved the brownie – it was warm, gooey and rich. The only thing that let the dish down was that the white choc mousse – it had too much gelatine in, it wasn’t soft and fluffy like it should be.

This stylish venue, in the Claremont Quarter’s “Eat Street”, is owned by Eagles Dean Cox and Andrew Embley. Emberly, in particular, has a big passion for food. Beluga kicks goal, after goal. From the awesome staff, to the different dining options, to the food; it’s all fantastic. Chef got quite excited about it all; he said we’d soon return. It takes somewhere quite special to impress him!

Beluga Caviar is the most expensive that money can buy; with prices up to $10 000 for 1kg. At the Beluga restaurant they have a caviar menu – ahhhh that would be nice!! Maybe next time… after our lotto win *wink*. Luckily, you don’t need the powerball to enjoy the rest of the fantastic Beluga menu. We’re already looking forward to our next visit.

NOTE – I know I said I’d keep the recommendations short, but BELUGA was soooo good I couldn’t leave anything out!! HIGHLY recommended x