Lalla Rookh, in the basement of Allandale Square, offering high quality Italian fare, has three main areas – a bar when you first enter off the food court, a more dimly lit dining area, and through another set of doors the Wine Store off Sherwood Court where you can browse the racks of wine bottles, have a drink or take a bottle or two home, as well as have food brought through from the restaurant. It is a favourite place, but on this most recent visit we decided to seat ourselves in the restaurant area.
The wine list is well put together, covering Australian and international wines, with a focus on regional and varietal expression, while the menu is a celebration of regional Italian cuisine.
From the wine by the glass list we enjoyed a couple of glasses of an Italian rosé, Le Fraghe “Rodon” – strawberries and rose petals on the nose, raspberry, blackcurrant and cinnamon notes on the palate – crisp, clean and dry.
A basket of chewy, doughy bread and a little olive oil, helped us through the short wait for our meals.
And on to the food: we decided to stick to the small, share plates, and went for, firstly, grilled octopus served with peperonata – the charry flavours of the tender tentacles of octopus complementing the mild spiciness of the sauce.
Then onto stuffed zucchini flowers, deep fried, with bocconcini, white anchovies and salsa verde – crisp flowers, the saltiness of the fish sitting alongside the herbal and garlicky notes of the green sauce, and creaminess of the cheese.
Finally a couple of sweet fleshed Shark bay king prawns doused in butter infused with mildly spiced Aleppo pepper – again a well-constructed dish full of complementary flavours and textures.
Lalla Rookh never disappoints – excellent food, a great wine list, top-class service – one of the best Italian places around town.