Pinelli – the Italian restaurant attached to the Caversham winery of the same name, and a salute to the heritage of the family – has recently both changed the chef – with Chef Caleb moving on to his own spot in Subiaco and Chef Daniel taking up the reins – and introduced the winter menu – we were invited along to check things out.
The drinks list, naturally enough, highlights the excellent wines coming from the Pinelli portfolio – as well as having a small selection of other wines, and of course beer, cider and spirits. From this we ordered a bottle of Pinelli 2016 Durif – deep purple to red in colour, blackberry and ripe plum aromas with a hint of tobacco leaf; ripe mulberries, dark plums and a little slippery spice to finish on the palate. A very good wine.
The restaurant is a large, airy and well-lit space with an appealing outdoor area on the wide covered veranda along two sides of the dining room. With café blinds to protect from the elements, if necessary, sitting outside brings you close to the vines ringing the restaurant. On this wintery day however inside seemed the best bet.
So to the food – from the antipasti selection firstly Gamberi Grigliati – garlic prawns served in a chilli tomato sauce with crusty bread – the prawns were perfectly turned out, nicely firm to the bite, and the sauce had a mildly zesty note – the bread mopped up the juices – all in all a great start and spot on for a cool, rainy day.
With these arancini – crisped rice balls filled with a mix of smoky pumpkin, sitting in a puddle of creamy aioli, and topped with fresh, peppery rocket and shaved parmesan – again a well-executed dish, as we have come to expect from Pinelli.
Our mains – salmon – moist and flaking, with snappy crisped skin, came with crunchy, lightly grilled asparagus draped over, sat on a bed of nutty couscous and sultanas, dotted with spicy capsicum and garlic purée – top notch.
Next fluffy pillows of gnocchi served with beautifully tender, slow cooked beef cheek and rich tomato ragu. This was the dish of the day and should prove very popular through these next few months of rain and low temperatures – it will certainly warm the cockles of your heart.
We made room for a share dessert, luckily – this time house made cheesecake topped with a quite delightful limoncello topping – sweet, tart, full of citrus flavours, and the cheesecake creamy and light. A perfect end to the meal.
Chef Daniel has picked up the knives and pans with aplomb – his food is excellent, robust flavours, well presented, substantial serves – simply top class Italian fare. As always the waiters are friendly, professional and certainly make you feel at home. And of course Pinelli wine complements the food. Get along and try it out soon.