Former chef at Lalla Rookh Joel Valvasori- Pereza recently set up his own restaurant in Forrest Walk, Subiaco, and Lady FWO and I stopped in for lunch during the week. Styled a pasta and wine bar, this is a place where bookings seem to be essential and even more so at night. It was packed when we went and from all reports getting in for dinner is even harder – so make sure you book, and even more importantly make sure you go!
Now anyone who has eaten at Lalla Rookh would know the delights of chef Valvasori’s pasta dishes and in his new venture – named for his grandmother – he continues to jump the high bar he set. The pasta, all made in in-house, is sublime.
The wine list is beautifully put together, with a great selection of Italian and Australian wines, including many of the funky new wave of wine makers who are shaking up the scene both here and abroad.
Obviously the menu is built around pasta dishes – and unlike many spots the pasta rather than the sauce is centre stage – no pasta drowning in a flood of sauce – but perfectly judged flavour combinations designed to let the pasta shine.
A complementary parmesan crust scattered with mushroom dust set the scene for what turned out to be a wonderful experience.
Then we began with one of the best dishes we have had this year – stracciatella di burrata with nectarine. The creamy, milky, silky, slightly salty cheese oozing and slithering across the plate, topped with crunchy sweet chopped nectarine, a splash of chardonnay vinegar, a slurp of lemon oil, and a scatter of aromatic, peppery basil leaves. The flavour and textural combination was marvellous. Creaminess, sweet crunch, subtle grapiness, zesty citrus zip and the headiness of the basil. Not to be missed.
Well, that was a fantastic beginning, so on to the pasta.
Tagliatelle della delizia – slippery, glossy pasta strands, cooked to al dente perfection, twirled and swirled and heaped on the plate, with a rich, meaty, luxurious ragu of pork, veal, vegetables and red wine – ticked every box you could want. Beautiful.
And then ricotta gnocchi, shining like a silken tofu, sat in a puddle of blue swimmer crab, tomato, chilli and basil sugo – bursting with fresh flavours, salty sweet crab meat, zip from the chilli and sharp/sweet tones of the tomato pimped and perked by the basil. And on the tables here a shaker of chilli available if more of a zip is required.
With our meal we enjoyed a bottle of rosé from one of the aforementioned new wave producers, and one of the best, Berry Blossom from Unico Zelo – made from Nebbiolo from the Clare and Adelaide Hills – crushed rose petals and strawberry aromas, juicy fruit, a tad of mid palate sweetness, but long and crisp finish to round it out.
Lulu La Delizia is a welcome addition to the Subiaco dining scene which has tailed off in recent years – with Lulu hopefully leading a renaissance. It has a buzzing, noisy, exuberant atmosphere, sensational pasta, brilliant sauces, cleverly and creatively designed dishes, wonderful waiters, spot on wine list. You gotta go.