Monsterella Pizza, Wembley

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Monsterella is a suburban pizzeria with a warm, laid back feel. The bustling Grantham Street eatery has a hip a rustic interior and lively, family-friendly atmosphere. We were lucky to get a booking at the incredibly popular spot. We needed to come in early, which was fine with us, as we’re generally early eaters anyway. We got there at 5.30pm and it was soon heaving with diners.

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As soon as we sat down, a friendly waitress brought our menus as will as a blank pizza box with a load of textas for Little Chef. That’s a very cool alternative to your usual colouring book! He soon set to work, busily designing his own pizza box. Monsterella was named after the way that the owner’s little girl pronounces mozzarella cheese. How cute is that?!

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In no time the eatery was buzzing with busy tables and lot of people coming in for take away pizzas too. Their focus is on handmade wood fired pizza with traditional toppings, though there’s also some tastebud tempting traditional Italian street food on offer, with cheese, meats, salad and fish dishes on the menu. Continue reading

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!

Solo Pasta – Mount Lawley

Solo Pasta is the new kid on the Beaufort Street strip. It’s not your traditional Italian pasta joint at all. It brings to the dinner table a fresh and fun new concept of ordering “pasta by the metre”. I’d never really put that much thought into how much pasta, in length, that I ate! At Solo Pasta, their standard sized patsa dishes come in three metre serves, which is the average amount a person eats, if they laid out their pasta end to end!

The three of us were kindly invited to dinner at Solo Pasta by David Caro, one of its owners. He enthusiastically explained how the idea behind the new restaurant works and it sounded intriguing. The dining room is light and bright, overlooking the bustling Beaufort Street.

The menu is made up of share plates and pasta dishes, which are ordered in three steps.

  1. First you choose your type of pasta – classic, beetroot or spinach.
  2. Next choose your length of pasta, we chose the standard three metres. For those of us with big appetites, you have the option of adding extra pasta to your bowl for $4.50 per metre. Kids serves are two metres.
  3. Then you choose your sauce. There are options of tomato based sauces (like meatballs, bolognaise, chorizo and chilli and more), cream based (like carbonara, mushroom and more) and olive oil/jus based sauces.

To begin Chef and I shared the tender and tasty lemon pepper calamari, $14, served with aioli and a wedge of lemon.

There’s no kids menu at Solo Pasta. Children get to pick their pasta dish from the whole menu. They simply receive a smaller pasta serve of two metres. For $13 children also receive a soft drink and vanilla ice cream along with the pasta.

Little Chef chose the spaghetti and meatball dish, though he was also tempted by the chorizo pasta too. He absolutely loved his super long pasta, served in thick, flat strips. It was topped with the pork and kale meatballs and parmigiana reggiano. I loved that there was kale in his meatballs and he didn’t even notice!  Many of Solo Pasta’s dishes have hidden veggies and their beetroot and spinach pastas are packed with nutrients too.

Continue reading

Woodfire Restaurant – Ellenbrook

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Woodfire Restaurant Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

There’s a hidden gem hiding in suburban Ellenbrook. Chef/Owner Lorenzo, formerly the Head Chef of Jamie’s Italian both here in Perth and restaurants in the UK. I got asked along to a bloggers lunch and I jumped at the chance, as I’d heard many great things about Woodfire Restaurant. West Australian Food Editor and critic Rob Broadfield also gave Woodfire a glowing review recently. I was expecting big things!img_2871

When I arrive I find the spacious restaurant is lively. The open kitchen, complete with wood fire, is bustling. There’s lots of long tables enjoying lunch. It seems like a popular place for family celebrations.img_2870

To begin our feast, we got to try a whole array of what Woodfire offers on it’s small bites menu. Served on a long board, sitting on tins of tomatoes, was “Fritto misto”. This is a selection of panfritto, crispy gnocchi, crumbed eggplant, arancini and polenta chips and is perfect for sharing. I particularly love the crumbed eggplant, but truth be told it’s all delicious.img_2822

I also dig into the “Panfritto” which are soft golden fried pizza dough bites served with spicy arrabbiata sauce and parmesan.img_2813

The “Cozze al forno” is Woodfire’s version of chilli mussels. They are baked in the wood oven and served with homemade focaccia, perfect for mopping up those yummy juices.img_2820

Next up was a selection of Lorrenzo’s pastas, which are made fresh every day at Woodfire. We tried the linguine al salmone ($23.90). A generous spiral pile of linguine pasta, tossed with Tasmanian smoked salmon, spring onions, capers, white wine and a dollop of mascarpone. Great dish. Usually I won’t order linguine or spaghetti when I eat out (as it’s not always easy to eat!), but I’d absolutely order this tasty dish again.img_2833

The handmade ravioli primavera ($23.90) is filled with spinach, ricotta and pecorino. Served with sauteed peas, asparagus and mint in a zesty lemony butter sauce. It’s a lovely light and summery pasta dish.img_2825

It was a tough call, but if I had to choose, I’d pick the “Casarecce al Maiale” ($22.90), as my favourite. The homemade casarecce pasta is served with wonderfully tender slow braised free range pork, mascarpone, lemony gremolata and herby breadcrumbs. It is so full of flavour, next time I’d like a whole bowl to myself!img_2834

Meanwhile, Little Chef is enjoying “Kai’s Ninja Turtle Pizza” from the Bambino Bites menu. All kids meals are $9.90 and there lots of healthy options. He absolutely wolfed down the pizza, which looked delicious. The freshly made base is topped with cheese and pepperoni. All proceeds from the sale of these pizzas will be donated to Kai’s Wishing Well. Kai is a little Ellenbrook boy who sadly has been having some serious health issues and the big hearted Head Chef Lorenzo has been running a few fundraisers to help Kai and his family.img_2808

I was also really impressed with the main meal selection, these meaty dishes are cooked over hot jarrah coals in their hand built fire pit, adding smoky flavours into the mix. The “coscia d’agnello”, ($33.90) grilled free range leg of lamb, is cooked perfectly medium rare. The tender lamb is served with asparagus, spring onions and an Italian mint sauce.img_2845

I’d have to bring Chef with me next time, he would love the “bavetta alla griglia” a 400g Black Angus hanger steak, $35.90. The beef is grilled on the fire pit and served with baby onions agrodolce, rosemary chips and sticky marsala jus.img_2844

The “filetto di barramundi” ($29.90) was beautifully presented. The sustainably sourced Humpty Doo Barramundi is baked in the wood oven along with potatoes, cherry tomatoes, black olives, white wine and thyme.img_2841

“Pescatrice al Prosciutto” is prosciutto wrapped sustainably caught Monkfish which is served with lentils and a mushroom ragu’, onion puree and hand chopped salsa verde.img_2840

It’s really lucky that we have a whole other stomach for dessert (hehe) as I really needed it at Woodfire. We were treated to a taster of some of their favourites. The “torta al cioccolato”, a chocolate and salted caramel tart that’s served with a dollop of creme fraiche and fresh WA strawberries was a winner.img_2859

The tutti frutti tiramisu is to die for. Luscious layers of mascarpone cream and tiramisu is mixed with summer berries, chambord liquor and caramelised almond.img_2858

The “torta di mele”, other wise known as Nonna Mari’s warm apple cake. Is topped with vanilla ice-cream and butterscotch popcorn. Another lovely dessert.img_2857

And to finish… we just couldn’t leave without trying Chef Lorenzo’s famous bomboloni (filled doughnuts). There are lots of flavours to choose from, Little Chefs favourite had to be the cookies and cream bomboloni. I really loved the salted caramel.img_2863

The residents of Ellenbrook are incredibly lucky to have this restaurant in their ‘hood.  Not only is the food top notch and beautifully presented, but the waitstaff are also very friendly and always happy to help.  We felt very welcome. I’d happily make the 25min drive myself to dine here again. We got to try so much of the menu and after all that delicious food I genuinely can’t pick a favourite – it is all so darn delicious. Do yourself a favour and check Woodfire out, you won’t be disappointed!img_2864

Huge thanks to Chef Lorenzo and his team for a totally tasty lunch. Thank you to Martin (Morsels) for organising 🙂

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.

Julio’s – West Perth

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Julio's Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Julio’s, a favourite haunt for West Perth workers for over thirty years, has been transformed into a swanky but approachable Italian diner. The iconic residence of Perth menswear moguls, the Walsh family, has been retained as part of a multi-million dollar hotel development. The rear of the historical house has been knocked through and now blends with the modern foyer of the Sage Hotel.IMG_3852

The Sage Hotel sits in what was essentially the back yard of the Walsh family’s heritage listed home which dates back to 1902. In 1982 the home was sold and become a West Perth favourite, Julio’s Italian restaurant, hosting dinners for mining executives, Lady Gaga, Bono and Beyoncé amongst others. The restaurant was then closed for a number of years. The new owners have kept in mind its beloved history with West Perth locals, by keeping the Italian restaurant, beautifully restoring the building and period features. The dining room has been stripped right back to the original bare brickwork, fireplaces, timber flooring and ceiling beams, whilst still managing to retain its cosy charm.interior

Arriving in the restaurant, via the hotel foyer, we’re greeted by a waitress who takes us to a table by the window. She offers to take my soggy umbrella – it’s a very wet and blustery night outside. I look over the well selected wine menu, the choices are mainly Australian. There’s also a good selection of French sparkling wine and Italian varieties too. A local red from the Swan Valley catches our eye. As the waitress pours the Robert Bowen Shiraz, $82, she tells us that the grapes are from Pemberton and Robert Bowen is in fact a regular at Julio’s. It’s a nice touch to get a little extra info and the wine is a wonderfully smooth Shiraz too.IMG_3831

The menu is made up of cicchetti (savoury snacks), primi (pasta) and secondi (mains). To start we enjoy creamy polenta fritters, $9. The rectangular fritters are golden and crisp on the outside. We dunk them in a calabrian dip – an Italian style aioli.IMG_3837

We also relish the truffle duck terrine, $19. The moist, fudgy meat is served along with chunks of pear, poached in nebbiolo, a red wine from Northern Italy. It’s finished with a hazelnut crumb. The flavours work well together, though I would have liked a little lavosh or crusty bread to spread the terrine onto.IMG_3835

For main I can’t go past the potato gnocchi, $22. The hand rolled gnocchi is tender, but a touch doughy. Topped with tiger prawns, zucchini and a creamy gorgonzola cheese and chili sauce it’s a comforting dish that’s bursting with sweet and garlic flavours.gnocchi

Chef chooses the hearty sounding lamb shoulder dish, $32. The locally raised lamb is very tender, as it’s braised in extra virgin olive oil. The generous portion of meat sits upon artichoke and a chickpea puree. The dish is covered in rocket and finished with pistachios, for an extra crunch.IMG_3839

We toy with the idea of ordering a side dish, though knowing how generous and filling Italian food often is, we decide against the extra food. The Sicilian caponata, with mozzarella, basil pesto and crispy eggplant sounds delicious, but will have to wait for another time.IMG_3858

There are four options plus a cheese plate for dessert. We find it hard to choose, so we order the dessert plate, $35. This selection gives you a taste of three of their desserts. Julio’s open cannolo is delicious. The chocolate cannolo, made to a secret recipe, is filled with a nutty torrone (nougat) ice cream. The silky saffron panna cotta jiggles on the board. On the side is a sweet raspberry jelly and praline. A slice of warm limoncello caprese cake is a little dry, though topped with the creamy citrus limoncello sorbet, which adds much needed moisture.Dessert

The reincarnation of Julio’s is a mainly a hit. The tasty food is mostly on point, just a few technical misses to iron out. The dining room is beautiful and the service is friendly and prompt. Bellissimo!

At a glance

Julio’s

1309 Hay Street

West Perth

Phone 08 6500 9111

Opening times

Open 7 Days

Breakfast  Mon to Fri 6.30am – 10.30am

Sat & Sun 7am – 11am

Lunch 11.30am to 3pm

Dinner Tue to Sat 5pm to 10pm

Sun & Mon 5pm to 9pm

Rating

food 3

service 4

ambience 4

value for money 3

style Modern Italian

wine mostly Australian wines,

with a few NZ and European drops.

Chef Simone Ariano

Owner SilverNeedle Group and ADC

feel Classic, old meets new.

wheelchair access yes

cost

Entree – $8 – $39

Mains – $24 – $34

Dessert – $14 – $35

all in all   a wonderful fusion of

modern and traditional elements in

both the venue and Italian menu.

Service is friendly and efficient.

Bravo’s – Vic Park

IMG_8975 Bravo's on Urbanspoon When I was fresh out of high school, my buddies and I would go out to dinner on the Vic Park café strip – usually at Bella Rosa, Christina’s, Sebastian’s or any other cheap n cheerful Italian restaurant we could find. In the 15 years since, I’ve graduated from that kind of Italian and without wanting to sound like a total food snob *cringe*  I do want more from my restaurants these days. For me, Bravo’s ticks all the boxes. An inviting, modern dining room. Friendly service – our waiter was a hoot and very helpful. And food that’s about QUALITY over quantity.

On this night, my old high school mates were getting together for a girls dinner – most of us enjoying a quiet night out away from our kids (and partners!). Bravo’s is a busy restaurant and hugely popular, so it has a very lively and loud atmosphere. Hearing someone at the other end of the table was difficult.

We decided to bypass filling entrées and go straight to mains…

IMG_8977Myl enjoyed a Pescatora Plate ($42.50). The whopping plate was brimming with tender salt and pepper calamari, grilled barramundi, sizzling garlic prawns, bread and a side salad. It was expensive, but Myl justified the extra cost, as she’s no longer drinking wine, since she has a baby on the way 🙂 🙂

IMG_8980I absolutely adored my pork belly dish ($38.50) The confit pork belly was so tender I hardly even needed a knife. The spinach was fresh and the mash potato wonderfully creamy. It was finished with a maple butter, apple and my favourite – perfectly crispy crackling! Fab dish.

IMG_8984Ren had the Fettuchine marinara ($29.50). She enjoyed the dish –  commenting there was a BIG kick of chilli and the napoletana sauce was really tasty. There could have been a bit more of the locally sourced seafood in the dish though.

IMG_8985Alysia had the BBQ pollo pizza ($25.50). It was topped with chicken, bacon, mushroom, red onion, mozzarella and  bbq sauce and smelled very tasty!

Sure some of the dishes might be on the pricy side, but when it’s good food, I don’t begrudge paying a little extra. I think there’s enough range on the menu to cover all budgets. The general consensus was that we all enjoyed our first trip to Bravo’s and that another girls dinner is on the cards soon.

*Bravo’s is also in the 2014/15 entertainment book*