On our previous visit, a few months ago, to the wine store at Lalla Rookh, (downstairs at 77 St Georges Terrace) we came away convinced they were serving up quite special food, and our recent trip back this week just confirmed this.
Entered off Sherwood Court or through the dining area in the main restaurant it is a great little space based on the enoteche of Italy with wall cabinets filled with wine, more boxes on the floor, and a little bar from which drinks are served and food ordered; wine can be purchased for takeaway or for a corkage fee consumed on the premises – and is also available by the glass.
The wine list is very well put together, covering Australian and international wines, with a focus on regional and varietal expression, many rarely seen around town.
The menu, divided into sections – salumi, cheese, pizza, pasta, seasonal dishes, chef’s selection, meat and fish, and dessert- is a celebration of Italian cuisine.
Chewy, doughy bread topped with dried mushrooms, and a little olive oil, helped us through the short wait for our meals.
We began with a salad of shaved pear and fennel, drizzled with honeycomb vinaigrette and scattered with buffalo feta; beautifully light and refreshing, crunchy pear, mild fennel, creamy, sharp feta, all brought together by a stunning sweet vinaigrette; it was a great start.
Pot roasted chicken leg, served with roasted Brussel sprouts, fried bread and pancetta dumplings came next – meltingly soft chicken, earthy Brussel sprouts, atop little squares of crispy fried bread and exquisite dumplings flecked through with salty, aromatic pancetta, with a sticky well-seasoned sauce.
This was another exceptional dish.
A pasta dish followed – tagliolini with blue swimmer crab, broccoli, chilli and garlic; al dente pasta, small pieces of sweet crab meat mixed through, and topped with shaved broccoli and a crumb of garlic and chilli; oily, salty, delicious.
With our food we (of course) sampled a couple of glasses of wine – Lady FWO began with rosé from Georgia (Europe, not the US!) 2013 Pheasants Tears. Made with, for us, an unfamiliar grape, tavkveri, this was bright pink, with floral elements on the nose; cranberry and raspberry flavours, and a dry, grippy palate.
My Rieslingfreak Schatzkammer No. 8 Polish Hill Riesling 2014 was made in the Germanic Kabinett style – floral aromatic nose, juicy lemon flavours, with residual sugar leading it to an off-dry well balanced, long finish.
For a change of pace we turned to a couple of reds – first 2013 Thymiopoulos Young Vines from Naoussa in Greece – made with another relatively unfamiliar grape, xinomavro, this showed aromas of blackberry, plums and cherries; it has smooth tannins, good acidity, dusty plum and red berry flavours.
And then 2009 Castano Cepas Viejas from Spain. A blend of monastrell and cabernet, it has lifted aromas of blackcurrant and plums, hints of tobacco and chocolate; juicy flavours of plum and spicy pepper, medium bodied, well balanced, and a long, satisfying finish.
We think the Wine Store – and by extension Lalla Rookh itself – is one of the best Italian trattoria in Perth– the food is outstanding, the wine list broad, beautifully constructed and ever changing, and the service excellent and knowledgeable. Absolutely recommended.